The long-time host of one of the most successful unscripted series in U.S. television history is returning for its debut on a new network — no audition necessary.
Ryan Seacrest confirmed his return to American Idol, airing on ABC this time around as opposed to Fox, on ABC’s Live with Kelly and Ryan this morning (July 20), which he co-hosts with Kelly Ripa. The announcement, which was followed up by a press release from ABC, confirms speculation that had been ongoing for months.
Seacrest will continue co-hosting Live with Kelly and Ryan from New York, as well as his nationally syndicated, L.A.-based morning drive time radio show on KIIS-FM, On Air with Ryan Seacrest.
“It’s genuinely hard to put into words what American Idol means to me,” said Seacrest, in a statement. “I’m so grateful for the show and all the career and life opportunities it’s allowed me to experience. It’s been an incredible journey from day one. To be asked to return this year, at my new home at Disney|ABC, is an honor, if not a bit surreal.”
He added that he considered ABC to be “the perfect home for Idol.”
ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said of Seacrest: “His talent is limitless, and I can’t think of a more appropriate person to honor the Idol legacy as it takes on new life than the man who has been there through it all.”
The network had previously confirmed pop star Katy Perry as one of the judges for the upcoming season, which will once again be produced by FremantleMedia North America (FMNA) and CORE Media Group’s 19 Entertainment.
“We’re delighted that he’s joining us and ABC as we set out to uncover the amazing talent America has to offer,” said FMNA president of entertainment programming Trish Kinane of Seacrest’s return, while CORE Media CEO Peter Hurwitz added: “Idol wouldn’t be Idol without Ryan… The show’s millions of devoted fans will be delighted to welcome him back to center stage on ABC.”
While the “will he or won’t he” question had hung in the air for months, a recent Hollywood Reporter cover story featuring Seacrest revealed more about the negotiations through information provided by “multiple sources.”
While the story ran prior to the deal being finalized, it mentioned that his return could come with a executive producer title. The official release announcing Seacrest’s return, meanwhile, does not mention Seacrest within the previously announced executive producer team: Kinane and FMNA CEO Jennifer Mullin, along with co-exec producer Megan Wolflick.
Live auditions will take place across America, beginning in August. The revamped American Idol is due to premiere in 2018.