Admittedly, there is only so much money one can make off television, since all the fat paychecks are in cinematography, but whoever said this for the first time probably did not take into account American Idol. Just to be a host on the popular singing competition is a highly lucrative job, as Ryan Seacrest can testify, since Fox just tripled his salary, offering him no less than $15 million for each of the three upcoming seasons of the show, the HollywoodReporter says.
Granted, this are small pickings as compared with the kind of money British music mogul Simon Cowell stands to make as judge on the same show (a reported $144 million for a single season), but it’s still good news for Seacrest. The star, known as one of the busiest people in the industry of television and radio, deserved the raise, fans are saying, and Fox was a long time coming with it, mostly investing in the judges than in the host.
“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.[…] 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.” the aforementioned source explains.
Fueller has already confirmed that Seacrest is a go for the upcoming season of the show, but has understandably refused to get into specifics. “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. Ryan is without a doubt one of American television’s most talented stars.” Fueller is quoted as saying.
Now that the host is locked and secure for the next season of American Idol, Fox is directing its attention at closing the deals with the judges. Randy Jackson is the only one who is, at this point, a certainty for the upcoming season, since he still has another year to go under the current contract. Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi have already expressed their hope of closing another deal to return on the show, but negotiations are currently underway.
Simon Cowell is the only one whose return continues to be surrounded in mystery, since he long hinted he might not be coming back next season. This, added to speculation in the media that he’s asking anywhere between $100 and $140 million for a single season, has prompted many to believe that the British star would be saying goodbye soon to audiences in the US, at least in his quality as American Idol judge.