Ryan Seacrest, judges will donate pay for tonight’s 2.5 hour Idol Gives Back

Tonight, Fox airs American Idol 7‘s charity event, Idol Gives Back. It will actually start at 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 CT, and will feature appearances by celebrities and politicians. Last year, the show asked viewers to give money, and also donated money for every vote up to 50 million; Ryan Seacrest didn’t mention votes yielding donations at all last night.

Because they are such humanitarians, the show’s cast will all give their paychecks to charity. “You know, we all are. We’re all going to give back what we would make on that night, you know, for doing that regular episode,” Ryan Seacrest told Larry King Monday night.

That’s a nice gesture and all, but if you’re multi-millionaire Ryan Seacrest or Simon Cowell, do you really want to publicly pat yourself on the back for giving back the money you earn in 2.5 hours? Actually, maybe you do: Seacrest makes $12.5 million a year to host the show, so doing some rough, unofficial guesswork/math, we find that Seacrest is paid $297,619.05 per episode, assuming he’s paid by the episode (American Idol 7 is scheduled to air 42 episodes). Of course, that’s before taxes.

Even if he’s paid a traditional 52-week, 5-day-a-week salary, that means he makes $48,076.92 a day before taxes. So we can safely assume Seacrest is donating somewhere between $48K and $300K, if he donates his pre-tax earnings.

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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.