Ryan Seacrest paid $12.5 million to host American Idol

Arguing with Simon Cowell and making gay jokes earns Ryan Seacrest “an estimated $12.5 million annually,” according to a profile of Seacrest in the Washington Post. Compare that to the nearly $1 million he received for season two; that’s quite a raise, and of course, is just a fraction of his income. He has a $21 million deal with E!, among other things.

He’ll keep adding to that fortune: Next month, “he’s taking three hours of [his morning radio] show national, via syndication, and as part of the deal — a rather unprecedented part — Seacrest’s advertising company retains 10 minutes of the ad time on the show to sell on its own, so that the profit goes right back to Seacrest and not through any network or syndicator,” the Post reports.

Now he has enough money to have other people get gas for his cars, plural. “I’d like an eighth day of the week — to go to the grocery store or take a walk on the beach, little things like that. Maybe go out and get some gas put in my cars since I don’t have time. I have someone who fills my tank because my day is so crowded, I can’t find 15 minutes to stop,” he said.

If that wasn’t enough to prove his level of success, Ryan’s name is also now trademarked, because “[t]he content of the shows and the platforms have ‘Ryan Seacrest’ as part of the title,” he says. And overall, he admits that he “had a total, 100 percent strategy to be the Dick Clark for our generation, to be the Merv Griffin for our generation, to be the Larry King for our generation.”

As to his most high-profile gig, Seacrest admits he was “robotic” during the first season, and discusses the secret to his evolution as a host. “I did something in the second year that helped a lot. I took the IFB out of my ear. … I took it out so the control room could not speak to me during the show, at least when we were live, and that helped a lot. Then you’re in the middle of it all, you can hear it all, and you can make decisions like a quarterback. If you want to go back to Paula, you go back to Paula. You’re just constantly trying to stir the pot and make moments during that show so it’s not always the same old thing,” he said.

The Man, The Brand, The Plan To Rule TV [Washington Post]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.