Oscars: How E! Handled Ryan Seacrest on the Red Carpet
Seacrest returned to his preshow post despite the move being seen as controversial by some ahead of Sunday night.
Ryan Seacrest returned to the red carpet with little fanfare during Oscars Sunday.
None of the stars who made a pit stop at the E! News host's spot on the star-studded carpet created any awkward moments related to the recent sexual harassment and misconduct claims leveled against Seacrest by his former stylist, Suzie Hardy.
Ahead of E!'s Sunday's Live From the Red Carpet getting underway, The Hollywood Reporter reported that the network would be using a 30-second delay, ostensibly to get in front of any potential backlash that host Seacrest might encounter outside the Dolby Theatre. The move would have potentially allowed E! to censor any unforeseen moments that arose, as they did during the recent Golden Globes.
E! had maintained that the practice was "business as usual" on the carpet. "As always, we tape multiple sources of content simultaneously to deliver the best possible show, and there are often brief delays between interviews," said an E! spokesperson.
While ABC had the official preshow, and the exclusive rights during the 4 p.m to 5 p.m. PT hour, E! had Seacrest pulling solo duty on the carpet with Live From the Red Carpet beginning at 2 p.m., followed by a Red Carpet Rundown at 4 p.m., which included Giuliana Rancic and took place at E!'s shooting location off the red carpet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
Seacrest scored interviews with the following performers, presenters and guests: Sofia Carson, Diane Warren, Miguel, Gael Garcia Bernal, Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, Andy Serkis, Richard Jenkins, Get Out's Bradley Whitford, Lil Rel Howery and Betty Gabriel, Rita Moreno, Eiza Gonzales, Common and Andra Day, Taraji P. Henson, Whoopi Goldberg and Tiffany Haddish.
He also spoke with nominees Allison Janney, Christopher Plummer and Mary J. Blige.
Meanwhile, over on ABC, more star-studded and timely red carpet interviews ranged from Time's Up activists — including Salma Hayek, Viola Davis, Nicole Kidman, Mira Sorvino and Ashley Judd — to some of the night's big nominees, including Margot Robbie, Greta Gerwig and Timothee Chalamet.
The closest moment to a star calling out Seacrest appeared to come during Henson's interview. Some on Twitter were quick to note that she seemed to be delivering a jab when she told him, "The universe has a way of taking care of good people." She then grabbed his chin and said, "You know what I mean?" When she arrived at the ABC carpet, she made a comment about how she was happy to be there.
But she later clarified her comments to People, saying they were "misconstrued" and that she "absolutely" supports Seacrest: “I did it to keep his chin up. It’s an awkward position to be in. He’s been cleared but anyone can say anything."
The following morning, Seacrest returned to the site of the Oscars to host his and Kelly Ripa's annual post-Oscar special for Live With Kelly and Ryan. Sitting on the Dolby Theater stage, they interviewed winner Allison Janney and aired a Maria Menounos segment from the red carpet the night prior. Menounos, holding a Live With Kelly and Ryan-emblazoned mic, was able to grab many stars that Seacrest had missed during his pre-show, including Sorvino and Judd, Hayek, Jane Fonda and Laura Dern. Menounos also spoke to stars like Gal Gadot, Matthew McConaughey, Sally Hawkins, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams.
Both the E! pre-show and segments that aired on Live! largely ignored the big conversation of the night, the Time's Up movement.
Despite E! clearing Seacrest after a two-month investigation and Seacrest vehemently denying Hardy's claims, many openly questioned the wisdom of making him the face of the network's red carpet show ahead of what has promised to be a very big night for the Time's Up initiative. A Care2 petition to boycott E! News over Seacrest had 20,000 signatures going into the preshow. Seacrest also returns on ABC, home to the Oscars broadcast, next week with American Idol.
Ahead of the show, Jennifer Lawrence was the first celebrity to admit that she was unsure if she would make Seacrest a stop along her red carpet tour. Her main issue, however, was the network's handling of longtime host Catt Sadler's exit in December, which she attributed to a "massive disparity in pay" with her male colleague Jason Kennedy. Stars such as Eva Longoria, Debra Messing and Sarah Jessica Parker confronted Seacrest about the pay gap scandal during the recent Golden Globe Awards, and it was revealed this week that the producer who aired the Longoria segment, Aileen Gram-Moreno, filed a complaint about the matter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. E! has disputed the claims, insisting that Gram-Moreno "was asked not to return due to job performance issues."
The 90th annual Academy Awards were hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and aired live at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET on ABC.
March 5, 6:35 a.m. Updated with Live With Kelly and Ryan Oscar special.
8 a.m. Updated with Henson clarification.