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Ryan Seacrest shifts to CAA

'Idol' host exits WME after negotiating new deal

Ryan Seacrest is out at WME and in at CAA.

Seacrest moved to CAA right after negotiating to extend his run on “American Idol” for three seasons at a reported $45 million. Insiders said he refused to allow WME to handle the negotiations for his radio deal or his lucrative “Idol” renewal in order to avoid having to pay the agency commissions on those deals that were brokered by Seacrest’s lawyer, Craig Jacobson.

WMA made Seacrest’s original “Idol” deal, and he was repped for a decade by Adam Sher and John Ferriter. Sher left last year to join Ryan Seacrest Prods., and Ferriter just returned from an extended absence.

Insiders said WME execs made it clear to Seacrest that they were not happy about being elbowed out of the “Idol” and radio deals and that they needed to come to a consensus on how their professional relationship would be handled. WME will continue to draw commissions on the base salary negotiated for Seacrest several years ago.

In the past few years, Seacrest has leveraged his popularity as “American Idol” host into a bustling business. He works nonstop, starting with his morning drive-time radio show for L.A.’s KISS-FM, the syndicated weekly “American Top 40” countdown show and the daily newscast for E! that he anchors. Seacrest’s production shingle is behind such reality shows as “Denise Richards: It’s Complicated,” “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and “The Naked Chef.”

His ambition is reminiscent of Dick Clark and, perhaps not surprisingly, Seacrest now hosts “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.”

Like WME, CAA will not draw commissions on Seacrest’s radio career, nor his “American Idol” deal — the agency already receives a packaging fee on the show. CAA sees a potential commissioning upside in the continued expansion of programming coming from Seacrest’s production company and expansion into areas that include books, speaking engagements and licensing opportunities.

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