Carson Daly: Ryan Seacrest Was the New Me

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"Now, he's the uber-man of the moment," reflects Daly, who has been bypassed as Dick Clark's heir apparent by the Idol host and E! producer.

Carson Daly was once the heir apparent to Dick Clark. Ten years ago, he was the face of MTV as Total Request Live host, producer and pal to young stars.

These days, Ryan Seacrest is the one who appears alongside Clark each New Year's Eve, inked a $45 million three-year deal for American Idol (not to mention the salary he makes as producer of such E! hits as the Kardashian franchise, which earned the family $65 million last year) and is a celebrity himself.

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"Ryan was the [new] me for a minute," Daly tells the New York Post. "Now, he's the uber-man of the moment."

They still compete: both host a morning radio show in L.A. (Seacrest on KIIS-FM, Daly on AMP Radio), they are involved in music shows (Daly will host NBC's The Voice), they are both on nightly TV shows (Seacrest on E! News; Daly on Last Call)  and they anchor competing live New Year's Eve shows.

Around the first of the year, they meet for a quiet annual dinner.

"It's our annual event that the public doesn't know about," Daly tells the Post "We are both in New York for a couple of days, and we always make a point of getting together and at least having a drink."

Daly says he doesn't mind being when he's still compared to Clark.

"That was always a nice comparison for me," he says, "and a really bad one for Mr. Clark."

Daly is eager to get his show Last Call, which was recently renewed for an 11th season, into an earlier time slot.

"I have been on the network for 10 years now, and I have been trying to get on a little earlier than 1:30 a.m. in other capacities," he admits.

But "I don't look at that as sloppy real estate," he goes on. "Just because it is on so late at night doesn't mitigate how important it is to me."

He almost didn't sign on to The Voice. He was pitching his own ideas to NBC.

"[Execs] said: 'Finally, we found a format that we really think you might like. It is a music competition,'" says Daly. "And I said, 'It's not for me. I am not interested.' "

He had second thoughts after watching The Voice of Holland, which the show is based on.

Unlike Idol, groups of singers are chosen to compete by performing for judges with their backs turned so only their vocal prowess comes through. They are they split into four groups to work with the celeb judges -- Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, country singer Blake Shelton and Maroon 5's Adam Levine -- and one from each group is voted off each week. The final four compete live.