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Ryan Seacrest’s Reach in Rio Extends Far Beyond Late-Night TV

Ryan Seacrest Rio Olympics
Rex/Shutterstock

When the cameras are turned off at the close of his nightly Rio-based show, Ryan Seacrest is just getting started.

Seacrest, who is moonlighting as NBC’s late-night host, has been even busier off the air than he is on, filling his popular social-media accounts with all kinds of Olympics-themed video.

On Monday, he became the first celebrity to produce one of the Instagram Stories on the Facebook-owned platform’s curated channel devoted to this new feature, which was just deployed last week.

Seacrest drew from his experiences in Brazil covering the Summer Games to inform not only the new Instagram feature but the bevy of different digital beachheads from which he has been driving engagement that goes far beyond his late-night perch on NBC, including Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.

“I think we realized that in this world where people consume information and events immediately through social just as much as traditional platforms that the engagement couldn’t just be contained to late night,” said Seacrest in a phone interview from Rio on Monday.

While he was a  contributor in Sochi two years ago for the Winter Games, this time around Seacrest presides over a nightly telecast at 12:35 a.m. for the duration of the Olympics. Four years ago in London, Seacrest was a correspondent across all dayparts, including filing regular “social media” reports during NBC primetime.

But in Rio, the synergies between digital and TV are tighter than ever.

The Olympics isn’t much of a stretch for Seacrest’s digital presence, which has he has long aggressively programmed year-round to echo his exploits as both on-air talent for TV and radio as well as the efforts of Ryan Seacrest Prods.

Seacrest, who is up for his 12th Emmy nomination in the fall for his hosting duties on the recently concluded “Idol,” averages just under 6 million viewers every night on NBC. While that’s down from the same time period in London, he’s likely making up for the shortfall on digital where his Olympics-themed content has delivered 45 million impressions between Aug. 6-13, according to a Seacrest rep.

The Olympic content being pushed out of Seacrest’s digital accounts is of a distinctly different vibe than what he does on TV. Some of the highest-performing videos he’s put on his Instagram account, for instance, don’t include him at all but are footage NBC Universal exclusively provides to him that is just emotional reactions from the families of gold medal winners exulting in the crowd when their loved ones win their competitions.

“I really appreciate NBC Universal trusting us to do what we’re doing on such a grand scale with such a massive global franchise,” said Seacrest. “I think they’re leaning on us to use our judgment find the best filter for showcasing the Olympic experience online.”

A recent report on his Snapchat account was even more far afield from the Olympic action, focusing on the exotic fruits he’s encountering in Brazil.

Seacrest also blurs the line between TV and digital earlier in the evenings in a promo that cuts in during Bob Costas’ studio segments that plugs Seacrest-produced livestreams on Facebook Live, which are hosted by Jac Collinsworth.