American Idol is bringing back its entire cast for its third season on ABC—except for Ryan Seacrest, who is not mentioned once in the press release. It says nothing about a host anywhere, but does mention “more live episodes and exciting, new creative elements.”
Judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan are returning, as is mentor Bobby Bones. What about Seacrest, who’s hosted the show for its entire 17-season run? Is he being replaced or fired? Or has he just not negotiated a deal to return?
Seacrest and his people are most likely just still negotiating his contract, but announcing the full cast also suggests the show is prepared to move on without him, and does not need his name to promote the show’s return or its auditions.
Update, 11:06 a.m. PT: I asked ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke about his absence this morning during a press conference at ABC’s part of the Television Critics Association press tour, and she confirmed they’re in negotiations. “I do not believe that he will be missing [from Idol]. We are in ongoing conversations with Ryan about returning, and I’m hopeful that he will'” return, she said.
Separately, an ABC representative told me, “we hope to share an announcement for Ryan soon.”
Seacrest’s deal as host was up for negotiation. When ABC renewed the show in May, Entertainment Weekly reported that all four stars didn’t have deals yet:
“While the future of the show is sure, that of Seacrest and its judges — Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie — is not. While offers have been made and a source close to the production says the network hopes all of the talent will return, EW has learned there is also no timing regarding an announcement, meaning those negotiations could take a while.”
“Returning to help find the cream of the crop are music industry legends and all-star judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. Emmy(R)-winning producer Ryan Seacrest will also return to helm the music competition series as host.”
This year’s does not. It says:
“Returning to help find the next singing sensation are music industry legends and all-star judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. Multimedia personality Bobby Bones will return as in-house mentor.”
Quotes from executives similarly mention only the judges.
Showrunner and executive producer Trish Kinane: “We are delighted to have our judges Katy, Luke and Lionel as well as in-house mentor Bobby back on American Idol. They are all credible, hugely successful artists and will bring their expertise, passion and energy to the search for America’s next superstar. They have an undeniable chemistry together making for another fun and exciting season!”
ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke: “We couldn’t be more excited for Katy, Luke, Lionel and Bobby to continue in their roles as American Idol searches for the next great music star, with more live episodes and exciting, new creative elements coming this season.”
That detail buried in Burke’s press release quote—”more live episodes” and “new creative elements”—is the only mention of it.
American Idol did announce a 21-city audition tour, in addition to the auditions that took place July 23 in New York.
The show is also encouraging the kids to audition via social media, using the hashtag #TheNextIdol on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with their audition video.
- Mobile, AL: TBD Venue (Aug. 20)
- Tallahassee, FL: Donald L. Tucker Civic Center at Florida State University (Aug. 23)
- Macon, GA: TBD Venue (Aug. 23)
- Santa Barbara, CA: TBD Venue (Aug. 23)
- Baton Rouge, LA: Hilton Baton Rouge Capital Center (Aug. 25)
- Columbia, SC: TBD Venue (Aug. 26)
- Las Vegas, NV: TBD Venue (Aug. 26)
- Waco, TX: Waco Convention Center (Aug. 27)
- Knoxville, TN: Knoxville Convention Center (Aug. 29)
- Salt Lake City, UT: TBD Venue (Aug. 29)
- Raleigh, NC: TBD Venue (Sept. 1)
- Colorado Springs, CO: TBD Venue (Sept. 1)
- Washington D.C.: TBD Venue (Sept. 4)
- Wichita, KS: TBD Venue (Sept. 4)
- San Jose, CA: San Jose Convention Center (Sept. 6)
- Pittsburgh, PA: TBD Venue (Sept. 7)
- Springfield, IL: TBD Venue (Sept. 7)
- Spokane, WA: Grand Hotel Davenport, Autograph Collection (Sept. 8)
- Detroit, MI: TBD Venue (Sept. 10)
- Nashville, TN: Nashville Municipal Auditorium (Sept. 18)
- Chicago, IL: Wintrust Arena (Sept. 21)