Seacrest is perhaps the person most closely associated with the long-running show’s original Fox run, his only rival for that spot being Simon Cowell, who has already nixed a return to the ABC version.
In addition to Seacrest, ABC’s upcoming season of Idol will include Katy Perry, who’s been signed as a judge. Her involvement was announced by ABC during upfront presentations in May.
Seacrest hosted Idol from its inception in 2002 to its final Fox installment in 2016. ABC says he’ll continue to host Live with Kelly and Ryan from New York. Seacrest also hosts and executive produces ABC’s annual live show, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.
The Idol news doesn’t come as a huge surprise – Seacrest’s involvement has been rumored for months.
Seacrest will also continue hosting and executive producing On Air with Ryan Seacrest, his nationally syndicated L.A. morning drive-time radio show for iHeartMedia’s 102.7 KIIS-FM, as well as a nationally syndicated Top 40 radio show from his iHeart studio at New York’s ABC7.
In an announcement confirming the news, ABC says Seacrest “will help reinvigorate the series that pioneered a new genre of television, staying true to the heart of the show by sharing inspiring stories and turning dreams into reality.”
“It’s genuinely hard to put into words what American Idol means to me,” said Seacrest. “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. I believe ABC is the perfect home for Idol, and I’ve every confidence the show’s legions of fans will love it – especially Idol’s best traditions of showcasing heartwarming stories, remarkable talent discovery, and, best of all, making dreams come true.”
“We are thrilled to be ushering in this new era of American Idol with Ryan at the helm,” said Channing Dungey, president, ABC Entertainment. “So much of American Idol’s overwhelming success can be attributed to Ryan, whose larger-than-life personality and laudable dedication to creating quality entertainment has made him a true master of his craft. 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.”
Trish Kinane, president of Entertainment Programming, FremantleMedia North America, executive producer and showrunner of American Idol, said, “American Idol is back and already on the road searching to find the next generation of superstars. Idol has always been about the contestants and the music, and we couldn’t be more excited to start this next chapter – first with the incredibly talented new judge, Katy Perry, and now our own series icon, Ryan Seacrest. We’re delighted that he’s joining us and ABC as we set out to uncover the amazing talent America has to offer.”
“Idol wouldn’t be Idol without Ryan,” said Core Media Group CEO Peter Hurwitz. “He is a natural who has been there from the start, shines on live television and has dominated in every one of his professional endeavors. The show’s millions of devoted fans will be delighted to welcome him back to center stage on ABC.”
The nationwide search for the next Idol kicks off Thursday, August 17, as the Idol Bus tour heads out across America for auditions.
American Idol is produced by FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment, a division of CORE Media Group. Executive producers include FremantleMedia North America’s Trish Kinane and Jennifer Mullin along with co-executive producer, Megan Wolflick. FremantleMedia International distributes the series worldwide.