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Ryan Seacrest is Fox’s 45 Million-Dollar Man.
The “American Idol” host has closed a new three-year deal with “Idol” producer 19 Entertainment, said to be worth $15 million a year.
Under the pact, which is believed to be the richest ever for a reality host, Seacrest is locked in as host of “Idol” through 2012.
Additionally, Seacrest will work with “Idol” creator and 19 principal Simon Fuller on developing new projects.
“Ryan is an essential ingredient to ‘American Idol’s’ success, and I am so happy that we will continue our relationship beyond ‘Idol’ into the future,” Fuller said. “Ryan is without a doubt one of American television’s most talented stars.”
Under the agreement, Seacrest will be exclusive to 19 and parent company CKX in broadcast TV primetime for his hosting services.
Seacrest has a separate cable deal with Comcast and is E! Entertainment’s lead anchor. He also produces such shows as E!’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and ABC’s upcoming Jamie Oliver reality series.
The pact, which had been in the works for the past several weeks, gives Seacrest a gigantic pay raise, more than tripling his previous salary of slightly less than $5 million a season.
With Seacrest’s renegotiation out of the way, the “Idol” producers will focus on securing the show’s judges for the near future.
Uber-judge Simon Cowell has made statements that he might leave the singing competition when his contract is up at the end of next season. The British media has pegged his salary demands for staying on the show at more than $100 million a year.
Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi, whose contracts are up, have said they hope to close deals to return next season.
Randy Jackson has one more season under his current deal.
Although the ratings for the reality juggernaut have slipped in the past couple of years, “Idol” remains the highest-rated series on television by a mile and is a windfall for its producers.
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