10:00am PT by Rick Porter
Ryan Seacrest Returning as 'American Idol' Host in New Deal
American Idol has put the band back together for its third season on ABC.
Host Ryan Seacrest has signed a new deal to continue on the show, which he has hosted for the past 17 seasons (the first 15 of them on Fox). He joins judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, who closed their deals in August. Bobby Bones is also set to return as Idol's in-house mentor.
"American Idol has been my home for 17 seasons and I can't wait to return to the stage," Seacrest said Friday in a statement. "It's the greatest gift to be able to play a part in discovering new talent with a franchise that has been such a relevant part of American culture for so many years."
Seacrest will continue to shuttle between Idol's home in Los Angeles and New York, where he is co-host and executive producer of daytime show Live With Kelly and Ryan. He also hosts a syndicated morning radio show and a weekly Top 40 show and ABC's annual New Year's Rockin' Eve special.
"We are delighted that our entire Idol dream team will be reuniting for the upcoming season on ABC," said ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke. "Ryan has been hosting Idol since the beginning, and the energy and enthusiasm he brings to the show after 17 seasons are remarkable. We can’t wait to see what’s in store as Ryan, our superstar judges and in-house mentor set out on their nationwide search for the next great music sensation."
When the judges' deals were announced in August, Burke was "hopeful" that Seacrest would be back as well: "I do not believe he will be missing," she said at the time.
"I'm thrilled that Ryan is returning to American Idol," said executive producer and showrunner Trish Kinane. "His passion for the show is evident, and we couldn't imagine searching for the next generation of superstars without him."
Added executive producers Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman of Industrial Media's 19 Entertainment: "Since the very beginning, everyone who has ever stepped onto the American Idol stage has done so with Ryan Seacrest’s support and guidance. We are lucky to call him our partner and proud to call him our friend. We are thrilled that the next American Idol can rely on Ryan guiding them along their way to stardom."
The show's audition tour for season 18 wraps up Saturday in Chicago. American Idol, from Fremantle and 19 Entertainment, is set to return to ABC in early 2020.