If, like me, you can’t comprehend the success of Ryan Seacrest because he has no discernible talent, then this will really perplex: he’s quickly becoming “the next Dick Clark, Merv Griffin, Larry King, for our generation”. So he says to TV critic Tom Shales. But who he’s really mimicking is Rupert Murdoch. The Viscount of Vapidness is paid an estimated $12.5 million annually just for hosting American Idol, not counting all the ancillary gigs he’s lined up. (Whereas Simon Cowell makes $42 million a year, from Idol and other sources.) But Seacrest has so many gigs: a 3-year, $21 million deal with E! Entertainment Network to host its special event programming and Red Carpet coverage. The reason he fronts the E! News show is because he has a production deal with that network and shares the ownership in those shows. He also has investments in eight Southern California restaurants, runs a half-dozen media companies and recently launched “The ‘R’ Line” fashion label. In April, he’s taking 3 hours of his daily 5-hour L.A. radio show national, via syndication, and as an unprecedented part of the deal his advertising company retains 10 minutes of the commercial time on the show to sell on its own, so that the profit goes right back to Seacrest and not through any network or syndicator. “I have great relations with advertisers, so I started an advertising company to sell our own time in my shows and build that business up in the next couple of months.” That’s why he does that insipid toothpaste commercial. “I want to have a relationship with Procter & Gamble because they have so many different products. We have inventory in this new syndicated radio show that I’m going to launch and I’d like to sell some of that back to P&G directly.” Seacrest now has lotsa little companies: Ryan Seacrest Productions, “On Air With Ryan Seacrest,” which employs about 20 people; “Top 40” radio has a staff of about 15; Sea Calm, which is the radio division; and Seacrest Sales, which is the sales division. He says. “The challenge for me is taking all these parts and figuring out how they can come together to make a big media company.”
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