‘American Idol’: Ryan Seacrest in Advanced Talks to Return as Host for ABC Revival (EXCLUSIVE)

Ryan Seacrest American Idol
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Meet the new host, same as the old host?  Variety hears through sources that Ryan Seacrest is in advanced talks to come back as host of “American Idol” when the show is rebooted on ABC next spring.

According to an insider, final tweaks are being hammered out on a new contract for the multihyphenate, who recently joined Kelly Ripa as cohost of ABC’s long-running morning show, the newly named “Live with Kelly and Ryan.” Stakeholders in “Idol,” which include FremantleMedia and CORE Media Group, are hoping to nail down a look that’s “authentic and most like the original.”

But another source close to Seacrest downplays the progress, noting that “conversations with producers about his potential involvement are in the early stages” and “there is a lot to work through given his other priorities and commitments.” Namely: to “Live” and his daily iHeartRadio syndicated program “On Air With Ryan Seacrest,” but also hosting and producing duties for E! and ABC’s “Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Ryan Seacrest.” That said, adds the insider: “Ryan has a lot of affection for ‘American Idol’ given the show’s significance to his career, and it taps into the things he loves — a live show, pop music, and discovering new talent.”

Variety reached out to “Idol” creator Simon Fuller, who is not currently involved in the new iteration on ABC, for his take. “There would be no ‘American Idol’ without Ryan Seacrest,” says Fuller, while declining to comment further.

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Representatives for ABC and Seacrest declined to comment.

Variety has also learned that ABC has committed to broadcasting about 40 hours of “Idol” for next season — making it likely that the show will air over two nights most weeks, as it did during its 15-season run on Fox. Producers FremantleMedia and Core Media Group had insisted while shopping the show that any broadcast partner commit to an order of at least 25 hours.

A twice-a-week schedule for “Idol” would further complicate what has been the major stumbling block to securing Seacrest’s return to the series that he hosted for 15 years — his new gig as co-host of ABC’s syndicated morning show “Live With Kelly and Ryan.” On Monday’s episode, Seacrest addressed speculation about his return to Idol when questioned by co-host Kelly Ripa, saying, “I don’t know about that part yet. “We haven’t gotten that far. This was news to me, actually, last week. I had said at the end of the series, ‘Goodbye for now,’ hoping somewhere it would come back.”

ABC on Tuesday announced that it had picked up a revival of “American Idol” for the 2017-18 season. The series order ended a process that saw multiple networks explore bringing the reality franchise to their air, as well as a briefer-than-anticipated absence for a show that just a year ago celebrated its “farewell season.” Seacrest has been speculated as a possibility to return to show since earlier this year, when Variety first reported that NBC was considering a revival of “Idol.” The Peacock eventually passed on the show, with ABC and Fox later emerging as the lead contenders to bring it back to television.

The new-model “Idol” comes from FremantleMedia North America and Core Media Group’s 19 Entertainment. Executive producers include FremantleMedia North America’s Trish Kinane and Jennifer Mullin.

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    1. Marissa says:

      I’m a millennial and I can’t wait to see an American Idol reboot. I’m a big Ryan Seacrest fan and I know I as well as all my family members across the country will tune in. Ryan’s personality and hosting abilities really add extra flare to the show. Thank you ABC!

    2. Linda Alvarado says:

      Return to the original format, simplicity…competitors appeared by themselves, as they looked when trying out, there were no big spotlights, guest teachers, etc. I loved the show back then, as we watched the changes in the contestants, gradually and in awe. I quit watching as it was all so staged at the end

    3. ann says:

      Please, get Steven Tyler back. Season 10 was the best. Jennifer, Randy, and Steven were a terrific trio. Personally, I think it works better with only three judges. Oh yeah, if you can’t get Randy, bring Keith Urban back. He was great. Love you too,Ryan Seacrest!

    4. anon@ymous.com says:

      Simon and train wreck, don’t you ever forget that Steve Harvey is the one who’s responsible for making the Feud as a very sexual and raunchy spoof of it former self and by giving the middle finger to Richard Dawson, Ray Combs, Louie Anderson, Richard Karn and John O’Hurley.

      Also Harvey would not be the choice as an “Idol” host as he himself doesn’t know shit about music…or lack their of as he would probably carry over the “innuendo” as well for sagging ratings.

    5. Nanny Mo says:

      Yawn! Yawn, yawn. Thank heavens for Netflix so I can watch what I want, when I want and not this. I’m pretty sick of Simon too. (ABC needs new leadership.)

    6. Simon and train wreck says:

      ABC is overloaded with junk shows and over exposed with Seacrest. He adds nothing to the basic concept of the competition. The morning thing and NYRE is enough! Clear the decks, all of the past faces out! Bring in Steve Harvey, but don’t talk to him or he will have you removed. Next year at this time, the show will be cancelled and the exec who is responsible with be gone too. How bout dat?

    7. chrisM says:

      They need to decide if it’s going to be about the contestants or the judges. Once they started the revolving door of judges looking for publicity to revive their career (or sell they tour/music) rather than honest opinion they lost me. I don’t really care about who sits in the judge’s seat as long as they know something more about the music industry then how to get free publicity and how many followers they have on twitter.

      • Sam says:

        Good one. Exactly why I stopped watching I nearly puked listening to some creepiness judges ( females).
        Randy Paula and Simon were only ever the best.
        And of course Ryan seacrest.

    8. anon@ymous.com says:

      I guess Brian Dunkleman won’t be available for the ABC reboot huh?

    9. Toni says:

      Omg wow hope he quits Kelly. There are plenty of other talents for the job.
      Give them a chance Ryan has ten jobs already. Or. We were played.

    10. Ray Costanza says:

      American Idol died because Nigel Lythgoe tried to rig it to “guarantee” a female winner. When viewers saw that, and the fact tat Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey were more about themselves than the Idols, the ratings fell like a stone and never recovered. Seacrest will be seen as part of that failure. Hence, viewers who remember Idol will not return, feeling that their vote will not matter.

      In order for a new “Idol” to succeed, you need a clean break from the past. Why not have Chris Jericho host it? He has rock music cred, and can bring in the younger demographic. He has hosted shows before. Why not one that enters his wheel house? You want judges? Get judges who had careers, and they are long since done. Gladys Knight and Olivia Newton-John fit that bill nicely. But, unless you are going to offer COMPLETE and TOTAL transparency on how the voting went, the new Idol will crash harder then The One.

    11. Roland says:

      I always looked forward to the new year and a new season of American Idol. Anything as groundbreaking as that series gets my attention. On the converse, I had high hopes for The Voice, but I was immediately disappointed. It’s only The Voice until they turn around. Then generally in the end, it’s American Idol. So, hearing that AI is returning is great news.

    12. Seve says:

      A better show would be three completely unknown judges who give pointers and tips to has been singers and bands who really don’t care or want to make a comeback but need the dough. The host would be David Letterman, beard and all. He wouldn’t want to do it but the money would just be too good to refuse. He could always say he will give it to charity, as any good liberal would want to do.

    13. Bruce Kramer, M.D. says:

      Has been show…
      Now…
      Has a no talent overpaid celeb host trying to revive it…
      Yeh…great formula for success…

    14. Mimi says:

      I always thought that Gene Simmons would make a good judge – lots of experience, some attitude, not too nice. That, Kelly Clarkson, and maybe Adam Lambert (only 3 judges, pref two men one woman).

      In the end, the public wants 3 things:

      1) Judges they respect

      2) Great talent

      3) Good music

      The formula is not complicated – but if you don’t have the above elements and focus on other stuff instead, viewers will go elsewhere.

    15. Robert Scorpio says:

      IDOL lost gas because the contestant talent just wasn’t that good. You’d be hard pressed to find any winner (or loser) of that show amounting to anything after Adam Lambert…Clarkson-Underwood-Hudson-Daultry-Lambert…and that’s it. All the other winners had their first album and that was it…poof…they were gone. Yes, some of them landed on Broadway but…poof…they became asterisks.

      The show is in a no-win situation. Younger talent singing modern songs means an okay 18-49; but modern songs seem to vanish into the background, and “baby-boomers” won’t watch if it centers on current pop music (who could blame them?).

      Younger talent singing 50-60-70s-80s is the next choice, but young viewers tune out and the 18-49 market dips and…well…that’s it….game over.

      The judges were becoming more about themselves. The only “later” judge who gave good pointers was Harry Conick Jr…all the others, after the original three, were to nice and never really gave great advice.

      The show will last two seasons at best…unless they can find a new formula that will attract a broader audience.

    16. Hunter1114 says:

      Some things should just stay gone. It ran its course.

    17. Glen Dorn says:

      Just bring in Madonna, so it will all crash down in flames.

    18. William Marler says:

      Idol faded when Simon left and they sanitized the show by excluding humorous bits of the bad singers. (She bangs, she bangs). A re-boot with that format may well exceed. Otherwise – meh.

    19. Devin says:

      This just reeks of happening too soon. It’s hardly a reboot if the show is only off the air for a few seasons, and returns with the same host and is “like the original”.

      Time will tell, but I think this is poor judgment and lack of creativity on the part of ABC.

    20. Barry says:

      You guarantee this new season to flop by reply hiring Lamecrest…

      Trust me

      • RealityCheck says:

        Barry, your attacks on Ryan Seacrest are quite amusing. Did he fire you once? Your comments are not even based on reality. Try to seek some help.

    21. Viewer Sj says:

      I don’t understand why they can’t film in New York? They need to freshen it up & give it a new vibe? NBC today scooped up Jennifer a Hudson for next Voice. Had hoped Idol would go on with former contestants & fan favorites. Kelly Clarkson is already rumored close to a deal. Cutting out JLO big salary can immediately make the show profitable. It no doubt will also be heavily cross promoted on GMA, LIVE & THE VIEW

    22. pat rife says:

      want Idol need Ryan there to be good. Judges have come and gone but Ryan is a major part of Idol

    23. Money Savings Weekend Alert says:

      Two things need to happen for this to have a real shot at megahit status again. One, RYAN SECREST has to return as host. Like TOM BERGERON over at DANCING WITH THE STARS, the two are inseparable. Two, it needs to return to its home base scheduling slots, Tuesday and/or Wednesday for audition and performance shows. And Wednesday or Thursday for the elimination show. They can shoot in Los Angeles or New York. That really isn’t a make or break issue for fans.

    24. Sam says:

      there’s nothing to advance. part of existing deal w/ Kelly. all sizzle

    25. Sylvia says:

      It would be shot in New York, not LA. Done.

      • Arjun Narayan says:

        that is a lot easier said than done. from a logistics and financial perspective, they have to determine whether or not it is feasible and if the judges are ok with shooting in NY rater than LA.

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