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Seacrest, Ryan

Seacrest, Ryan

December 24, 1974 Atlanta, Georgia

Entertainer

Ryan Seacrest's career did not begin on American Idol, but the popularity of the televised talent search contest on Fox helped make him a household name by 2003. Before taking the American Idol job, Seacrest hosted a highly rated radio show in Los Angeles that dominated the afternoon drive-time slot. His career began to flourish in 2004 with the debut of his daily daytime television show, On-Air with Ryan Seacrest.

High school DJ

Born in 1974, Seacrest grew up in Dunwoody, Georgia, where his father, Gary, was a lawyer. He was an overweight child, teased by others, and preferred to stay indoors listening to the radio. His fascination with the medium evolved into making his own radio show tapes, and he would give the cassettes to his parents to play in their cars. "I thought it was a hobby," his homemaker mother, Connie, told Allison Glock in a New York Times Magazine profile. "But people would call my answering machine just to listen to his voice. They thought I had a professional doing it. That's when I thought, This might be bigger than I think it is."

At age fourteen Seacrest became the "Voice of Dunwoody High School," as his school's regular morning public-address system announcer. He was still anything but a star there, he told another New York Times writer, Hilary De Vries. "I wore braces and glasses and was fat and got teased about it," Seacrest said, "but I was always very ambitious." He eventually lost weight by cutting out nearly everything in his school lunch except for the oranges his mother had packed for him. In 1991, the year he became a junior at Dunwoody High, he landed a hard-to-get internship at Atlanta pop music station WSTR-FM.

One night the regular DJ called in sick and asked Seacrest to take his shift. Both thought the station owner was out of town, but he wasn't, and Seacrest received a surprise telephone call on the studio hotline during his live debut. Assuming he would be fired, he went to see his boss the next day in order to apologize. Instead, the station owner told Seacrest that, though he was not a professional, his stint of the night before hadn't been too bad. The boss offered to start training him, and soon Seacrest was given the weekend overnight shift at WSTR.

"Ryan has the appeal of a dog that has been rescued from the pound. That is his secret. He's grateful. He's happy. Always, always. If he had a tail, he'd wag it."

Simon Cowell, New York Times Magazine, May 23, 2004.

Headed for Hollywood

After graduating from Dunwoody High in 1993, Seacrest stayed at the station and began taking journalism classes at the University of Georgia.

British Pop Idol Hosts

Ryan Seacrest has hosted American Idol since its debut in 2002, but the show is a remake of a British hit that premiered in the fall of 2001. The ITV Network's Pop Idol also featured Simon Cowell as a judge, but it was hosted by a pair of English comedians named Ant and Dec. Unlike Seacrest, they were already widely known in their country, thanks to their popular Saturday morning children's show.

Ant and Dec are Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly. Both were born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1975. They met when cast in a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) soap opera for teens called Byker Grove in 1990. Their characters, PJ and Duncan, were popular, but McPartlin lost his part when the show's writers had him maimed in a freak paintball accident. The two went on to release a series of pop music albums, and in 1995 became hosts of their own short-lived BBC series, The Ant and Dec Show. It was followed by Ant and Dec Unzipped in 1997, but the two boyish, energetic personalities only hit their stride with SM:tv Live, a Saturday morning show aimed at young viewers on ITV. Their antics made them popular with their target audience, but older viewers began tuning in as well. On their show, Ant and Den spoofed the Byker Grove paintball episode, gave away their pop records to guestsjoking they still had boxes of them leftand mercilessly teased youngsters who called in to the show.

Ant and Dec hosted SM:tv until Pop Idol came calling. Like Seacrest, their easy banter and likable personalities provided relief from Cowell's cutting remarks. Once they even played one of their well-planned pranks on Cowell, after the show became a success in the United States as American Idol : they donned wigs, fake beards, and prosthetic makeup and auditioned as two of the thousands of hopefuls who tried out.

Ant and Dec are often referred to as Britain's favorite "Geordies," a nickname for those from the north of England, who have a distinct accent. In 2002 they became hosts of Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, which was set to make its American TV debut in late 2004 on the Fox Network. There were no plans to air the prank they played on Cowell, in which they sang a Paula Abdul song with American accents. "Thank god the American audiences didn't see that," Donnelly told Sam Wonfor and Alison Dargie in the Journal of Newcastle, England. "I don't think it would be the best way for us to introduce ourselves to them. Maybe we'll show them one day."

He also made his television debut as host of an ESPN show for kids called Radical Outdoor Challenge. When he was nineteen, he quit the Atlanta radio station and moved to Los Angeles, enrolling at Santa Monica College. He had a hard time finding work in the highly competitive radio market in southern California, but he did land some television jobs. He was a weekend anchor on the entertainment-news show Extra, and hosted series like Gladiators, Sci-Fi Channel's The New Edge, and The Click, a teen quiz show. He also worked as an overnight radio DJ and eventually took over the drive-time slot on KYSR, an alternative music station, with the highly-rated "Ryan Seacrest for the Ride Home."

By 1999 Seacrest's show had become the top-rated Los Angeles-area radio program in its time slot. He continued to take the occasional television job, and in 2002 came under consideration for a seat on the judging panel of a new reality-TV series, American Idol. The Fox Network show was based on a hit British series of the previous year called Pop Idol. In both shows unknown hopefuls competed for a chance at a record contract, and viewers could phone a special number and cast their votes for their favorite performer that week. One by one, the singers would be eliminated. Simon Cowell (1959), a British record executive who made the Spice Girls a success, brought the show across the Atlantic. Cowell and others felt that the likable Seacrest might be better suited for the job of host. "They asked if I thought I could handle live TV," he recalled in the interview with Glock, and "I said, 'Of course,' even though I had no idea."

American Idol debuted in the summer of 2002 and was a phenomenal success almost from the start. Seacrest's on-screen enthusiasm made him an overnight sensation, and the show was seen by some twenty-six million viewers weekly. As American Idol grew in popularity, Seacrest, Cowell, fellow judges Paula Abdul (1962) and Randy Jackson (1956), as well as the final contestants, all became household names. Seacrest was sometimes described as the antidote to Cowell, who often judged the contestants' talents harshly. "I think we're showing that there is more than one way to launch a star," Seacrest said, when De Vries asked him about why American Idol had captured the nation's attention. "It could have been a great TV show, but not have any validity in the record-buying world. But we've proven to be very successful that way."

Sometimes Seacrest and Cowell traded insults on the air. Cowell later penned a book on the American Idol phenomenon in which he claimed that Seacrest, known for his perfectly coiffed hair, sometimes spent three hours in the hair and makeup room before a taping. "That's a bit of an exaggeration," Seacrest said, when Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Rodney Ho asked him about it. "My hair, makeup and wardrobe takes about 14 minutes. I don't have three hours in my life to do anything."

Given daily TV show

Seacrest's schedule became even busier in early 2004, when he began hosting On-Air with Ryan Seacrest, a syndicated daytime television talk show. He described its core audience to one interviewer as young adults who had spent their teen years watching MTV's Total Request Live and were now ready for more grown-up fare. The show was a mix of entertainment news, in-studio performances by guests like Missy Elliott (1972), and live performances outside its studio at the Hollywood & Highland complex in Los Angeles, a tourist mecca. The host also bantered with guests like Donald Trump (1946), and segued to reports from the show's remote correspondents. Fox Television built Seacrest a new studio for the television and radio show of the same name, a facility that cost a reported $10 million. By then, Seacrest was thought to make about that same amount of money yearly.

Around the same time his new television show debuted, Seacrest also began hosting the weekly radio staple American Top 40. He replaced longtime host Casey Kasem (1932), who had retired from the top-rated chart hits countdown show heard on hundreds of radio stations across the United States each week. Kasem had been one of Seacrest's radio idols when he was growing up, along with Dick Clark (1929), host of the weekly music show American Bandstand from 1956 to 1987. Seacrest once asked Clark for some career advice, and Clark told him the business had changed dramatically over the decades. A stake in ownership was important to have, Clark believed, and so Seacrest negotiated a piece of the ownership pie for the televised On-Air. He hoped that it might become "a brand name that could live forever," he explained to De Vries. "So maybe in 20 years it will still be called 'On Air,' with someone else hosting the show, but I can still produce it. Because, let's be honest, you don't know how long people are going to let you into their homes."

Seacrest's own home is a three-story Italianate villa in the Hollywood Hills. He began dating actress and singer Shana Wall in 2003, which seemed to put an end to persistent rumors about his sexual orientation. In interviews, he readily admitted he had "metrosexual" tendencies, using the catchphrase of 2003 for straight guys who exhibited some of the stylishness commonly associated with gay men. Well before the metrosexual term came into common usage, Seacrest used to talk on his L.A. radio show about getting his eyebrows waxed. He once confessed to celebutante Paris Hilton that his flatiron was also a cherished possession in his household. "What can I do about it?" he asked Entertainment Weekly journalist Nicholas Fonseca, about his love of hairstyling products and well-tailored shirts. "I could lie and pretend that I hunt and camp, but that wouldn't be me. Clothes? Shopping? That's stuff I like!"

For More Information

Periodicals

"£10m Bid for Ant 'n' Dec.' Birmingham Evening Mail (Birmingham, England) (May 12, 2004): p. 6.

Curtis, Nick. "What Makes These Two the Hottest Stars on TV?" Evening Standard (London, England) (October 26, 2001): p. 31.

De Vries, Hilary. "His Feet in 'American Idol,' and Reaching to Be a Star." New York Times (January 11, 2004): p. AR30.

Fonseca, Nicholas. "The Music Man: American Idol Host Ryan Seacrest's Blond Ambition Has Earned Him a New Talk Show and Makes Him Hair, We Mean Heir, Apparent to Dick Clark." Entertainment Weekly (January 9, 2004): p. 46.

Glock, Allison. "Bland Ambition." New York Times (May 23, 2004): p. 20.

Ho, Rodney. "Life of Ryan: Atlanta-Born Ryan Seacrest Hopes His New TV Talk Show, Starting Today, Is the Springboard to a Media Empire." Atlanta Journal-Constitution (January 12, 2004): p. B1.

Lipton, Michael A. "Fast Forward: American Idol's Hyper Host Ryan Seacrest Makes Room for Talk TV, a Radio GigAnd Romance." People (January 19,2004): p. 69.

Moir, Jan. "'Yes, We Are Rather Middle-Aged.'" Daily Telegraph (London, England) (December 6, 2001): p. 22.

"Movie for Ant and Dec." Evening Chronicle (April 2, 2004): p. 2.

Poniewozik, James. "Shallow like a Fox: Ryan Seacrest of American Idol and On-Air Hopes to Turn Pop Fluff into an Empire. Go Ahead and Laugh." Time (January 26, 2004): p. 62.

Singh, Anita. "Ant and Dec's Audition Fools Pop Idol's Mr Nasty." Europe Intelligence Wire (January 9, 2003).

Wonfor, Sam, and Alison Dargie. "Ant and Dec Bid to Be Idols in US." Journal (Newcastle, England) (November 3, 2003): p. 7.

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Seacrest, Ryan 1974(?)–

SEACREST, Ryan 1974(?)

PERSONAL

Full name, Ryan John Seacrest; born December 24, 1974 (some sources cite 1976), in Atlanta, GA; son of Gary (an attorney) and Connie (a homemaker). Education: Attended the University of Georgia and Santa Monica College. Avocational Interests: Exercising, running, cooking, traveling.

Addresses: Agent William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Publicist Baker Winokur Ryder, 9100 Wilshire Blvd., Sixth Floor West, Beverly Hills, CA 90212.

Career: Host, television personality, and radio personality. WSTR/Star 94 (radio station), Atlanta, GA, radio personality, 1990s. Appeared in television commercials.

Awards, Honors: Family Television Award, and Emmy Award nomination (with others), outstanding reality/competition program, both 2003, for American Idol; named one of "20 under 30" (twenty most successful people under the age of thirty), E! Entertainment Television.

CREDITS

Television Appearances; Series:

Host, Radical Outdoor Challenge, ESPN, c. 1993.

Correspondent, Extra Weekends (also known as Extra: The Entertainment Magazine ), syndicated, beginning c. 1994.

Host, Gladiators 2000, syndicated, beginning c. 1994.

Jack Craft, Reality Check, beginning c. 1995.

Host, The New Edge, SciFi Channel, 19961999.

Host, The Click, syndicated, beginning c. 1997.

Host, NBC Saturday Night Movie, NBC, 20002001.

Host, Ultimate Revenge (also known as TNN's Ultimate Revenge ), The National Network (later Spike TV), beginning 2001.

Host, American Idol: The Search for a Superstar (also known as American Idol and American Idol 2 ), Fox, 2002.

Host, American Juniors, Fox, 2003.

Correspondent, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 2004.

Host, OnAir with Ryan Seacrest, syndicated, 2004.

Host of Total Rush.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Host, Wild Animal Games, The Family Channel, 1995.

Announcer, The Crash of 2000: A CNET Special Report (documentary), SciFi Channel, 1997.

Host, America's Party: Live from Las Vegas (also known as America's Party: New Year's Live from Las Vegas ), Fox, 2002 and 2003.

Host, American Idol: Best of the Worst, Fox, 2003.

Host, American Idol: Halfway Home, Fox, 2003.

Host, American Idol: The Final Two, Fox, 2003.

Host, Jingle Ball Rock, Fox, 2003.

Himself, The Disco Ball: A 30Year Celebration (also known as The Disco Ball ), ABC, 2003.

Maxim Hot 100, NBC, 2003.

Playboy's 50th Anniversary Celebration, Arts and Entertainment, 2003.

Host, American Idol: The Road to Hollywood, Fox, 2004.

Host, American Idol: Uncut, Uncensored and Untalented, Fox, 2004.

Himself, Britney Spears: E! Entertainment Special (documentary), E! Entertainment Television, 2004.

Host of An Evening at the Academy Awards; also appeared in a special marking the premiere of the film Tomorrow Never Dies, E! Entertainment Television, c. 1997.

Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:

The WB Radio Music Awards, The WB, 1999.

Host, The 2003 Billboard Music Awards, Fox, 2003.

Host, The 2003 Radio Music Awards, NBC, 2003.

Presenter, The 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, Fox, 2003.

Presenter, The 30th Annual American Music Awards, ABC, 2003.

Himself, The 2003 Teen Choice Awards, Fox, 2003.

The Fifth Annual Family Television Awards, The WB, 2003.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Announcer, Life, Camera, Action, Fox Family Channel, 1998.

Guest host, Talk Soup, E! Entertainment Television, 1999.

Voice of Fighting Families host, "Helga Sleepwalks/Fighting Families, " Hey Arnold (animated), Nickelodeon, 1999.

Melrose Place, Fox, c. 1999.

Host, "The Final Proof," Beverly Hills, 90210, Fox, 2000.

Himself, MADtv, Fox, 2002.

The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, CBS, 2002.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, NBC, 2002 and 2003.

Himself, "NFL Draftees," Player$, 2003.

Guest host, Good Day Live, Fox, 2003.

Guest host, Larry King Live, CNN, 2003.

Himself, Paula Abdul: The E! True Hollywood Story (documentary), E! Entertainment Television, 2003.

Himself, The New Tom Green Show, MTV, 2003.

Himself, The View, ABC, 2003.

Himself, The Wayne Brady Show, syndicated, 2003.

Himself, The Late Show with David Letterman, CBS, 2004.

Also appeared in episodes of other series, including Blind Date, syndicated; The Dating Game, syndicated; and Leeza, NBC and UPN.

Television Executive Producer and Creator; Series:

OnAir with Ryan Seacrest, syndicated, 2004.

Radio Appearances; Series:

Host, Ryan Seacrest for the Ride Home, KYSR/Star 98.7 [Los Angeles], c. 19952004.

Host, Live from the Lounge, syndicated, c. 20012003.

Host, American Top 40, 2004.

Host, OnAir with Ryan Seacrest, KIIS [Los Angeles], 2004.

Appeared in other radio productions.

OTHER SOURCES

Periodicals:

Entertainment Weekly, January 9, 2004, pp. 4648.

Parade, January 4, 2004, p. 26.

People Weekly, May 1, 2003, pp. 2627; January 19, 2004, p. 69.

Time, January 26, 2004, p. 62.

TV Guide, January 17, 2004, pp. 4247.

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Seacrest, Ryan

Ryan Seacrest

Radio and television host

Born December 24, 1976, in Atlanta, GA; son of Gary (an attorney) and Connie (a homemaker) Seacrest. Education: Attended University of Georgia and Santa Monica College.

Addresses:

Home—Hollywood Hills, CA. Office—c/o American Idol, P.O. Box 900, Beverly Hills, CA 90213–0900.

Career

Worked as a radio disc jockey, including: WSTR/Star 94, Atlanta, GA, c. 1992–95; KYSR–FM/Star 98.7, Ryan Seacrest for the Ride Home, Los Angeles, CA, 1995–2004; Live from the Lounge, syndicated, 2001—; KIIS–FM, Los Angeles, CA, On–Air with Ryan Seacrest, 2003—; American Top 40, syndicated, 2004—. Television appearances include: Gladiators 2000 (host), 1994; Extra (part time correspondent), 1994; Radical Outdoor Challenge (host), ESPN, 1995; Wild Animal Games (host), Family Channel, 1995; Reality Check, 1995; The New Edge (host), USA and Sci–Fi, 1996; The Click (host), 1997; Talk Soup (guest host), E! Entertainment Television, 1999; Hey Arnold! (voice), 1999; Melrose Place, FOX, 1999; Beverly Hills, 90210, FOX, 2000; NBC Saturday Night Movie block (host), 2000; Ultimate Revenge (host), 2001; American Idol (host), FOX, 2002—; The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (correspondent), NBC, 2003; American Juniors (host), 2003; Larry King Live (guest host), CNN, 2003; presenter at Emmy Awards, 2003; host of New Year's Eve show, FOX, 2003; host of American Radio Music Awards, 2003; host of Radio Music Awards, 2003; On–Air with Ryan Seacrest (host and executive producer), syndicated, 2003-04. Also appeared in commercials for AT&T Wireless; principal, Ryan Seacrest Productions.

Sidelights

Though Ryan Seacrest came to national prominence as the host of American Idol in 2002, he already had established a solid reputation as a successful radio host and disk jockey (DJ) for stations in Atlanta, Georgia, and Los Angeles, California. He continued to work in both broadcasting formats for a number of years. Contradicting the common notion of a "face for radio," he was also known for his good looks and metrosexual grooming habits. The charming, easy–going Seacrest also hosted several other television shows before and after American Idol, including On–Air with Ryan Seacrest, which he also produced and owned part of.

Seacrest was born on December 24, 1976, in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of Gary and Connie Seacrest. His father worked as an attorney, while his mother was a homemaker. Seacrest and his younger sister, Meredith, were raised in the Atlanta area. From a young age, Seacrest was interested in acting and the entertainment industry. His interest was first peaked when he played King Winter in his fourth grade school musical. As a young person, Seacrest already had a goal of hosting a radio show that counted down the top records of the day.

By the time Seacrest was a student at Dunwoody High School in Atlanta, he knew he was wanted to work in radio as a disk jockey and follow in the steps of media mogul Dick Clark. At school, he read the morning announcements over the intercom and became known as "The Voice of Dunwoody High School." He also participated in many radio call–in contests. Seacrest befriended DJ Tom Sullivan and was able to move to the other side of the broadcast by working as an intern at WSTR/Star 94 while still in high school.

While he was working at WSTR, Seacrest spent a lot of time at the station and become familiar with every aspect of radio broadcasting. He made a demo tape and convinced his superiors at WSTR to hire him as a fill–in DJ for the 7 p.m. to midnight shift. Seacrest's show was soon one of the highest–rated on the station, though he was still a high school student. After graduating from Dunwoody in 1993, he continued to work for Star 94 while attending college.

Seacrest entered the University of Georgia, where he studied business. He soon added television to his resume. Though he was only a freshman in college, Seacrest was given the chance to work as a television show host. He worked on the kid–focused game show Radical Outdoor Challenge, which aired on EPSN in 1995. Seacrest worked on the show on weekends while attending school.

In 1995, Seacrest left both jobs and the University of Georgia behind to move to Los Angeles and try his luck in a bigger media market. He began as a part–time DJ, while continuing his business studies at Santa Monica College. Seacrest was soon hired as disc jockey as KYSR–FM/Star 98.7, and dropped out of Santa Monica College after one year. He became the afternoon drive DJ, and his show was called Ryan Seacrest for the Ride Home. It soon became the number–one–rated show in the market, doing the best among women aged 25–34.

While working on his successful radio show, Seacrest continued to branch out into television. In 1997, he hosted another game show for kids, The Click, which had an Internet theme. The Click was produced by Merv Griffin, who had created and produced a number of successful game shows over the years. Seacrest took advantage of the opportunity to learn how television works by sitting in on production and related meetings. In 1999, Seacrest had guest appearances on a number of successful television programs, including Talk Soup, the E! Entertainment television show about talk shows, and the nighttime dramas Melrose Place and Beverly Hills, 90210.

Seacrest continued to have many exciting opportunities in television. He appeared on The New Edge on the USA network and Sci Fi, and Wild Animal Games on the Family Channel. He had a deal in the works for his own late–night talk show called Seacrest @ Night, but it was scrapped in 2000. Seacrest later admitted that a late night show would not have fit well with his talents. In 2000, he was hired as the host of a movie night block shown on NBC on Saturday nights.

While Seacrest was pursuing an ever–increasing number of opportunities in television, he continued his afternoon radio show on KYSR. In 2001, he added other hosting duties for another radio program. He was hired as the host of Live from the Lounge, a nationally syndicated show that appeared on Premiere Radio Networks. On the show, Seacrest interviewed celebrities.

The biggest break of Seacrest's career happened in 2002. He was hired as one of the hosts of FOX's American Idol, an amateur singing contest that led to a record deal for the winner. American Idol proved extremely popular among American television audiences, and Seacrest gained many fans, had websites dedicated to him, and enjoyed nation–wide fame. During the first season of the show, Seacrest shared hosting duties with Brian Dunkelman, a comic who was very negative; after the first season, Dunkelman was dropped and Seacrest worked subsequent seasons as the only host.

On American Idol, Seacrest worked with the show's judges: pop singer and choreographer Paula Abdul, musician and music producer Randy Jackson, and music producer Simon Cowell. The British Cowell was often biting in his commentary on the contestants' talents, and sometimes had conflicts with Seacrest. Despite such negativity, Seacrest emerged as a star. According to Donna Petrozzello of the Daily News, "The biggest winner to come out of American Idol isn't Kelly Clarkson. Or Ruben Studdard. Or even Clay Aiken. It's Ryan Seacrest. Since starting as host of American Idol, Seacrest has become an entertainment conglomerate in his own right."

While hosting American Idol, Seacrest brought many American Idol–related people to guest on his radio show. He also traveled around the United States to promote the show. A common topic of discussion about Seacrest was his appearance and the importance he placed on maintaining it. Seacrest had been a self–described "fat" kid with braces and glasses in high school, but dieted to lose weight. He admitted to enjoying clothes, shopping, eating right, and working out, and indulging in eyebrow waxes, massages, face creams, manicures, facials, and extensive hair care. In public, he made fun of himself for his sometimes–excessive grooming habits. He was named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" in 2003.

More television opportunities came Seacrest's way as American Idol became a national phenomenon and made him a household name. In 2003, Seacrest served as host for the one–season–long American Juniors. This also aired on FOX and featured children competing in the same way adults did on American Idol; however, this program did not get the same high ratings as its predecessor and was not renewed. He was also the host of the Radio Music Awards in 2003, and was a fill–in host of Larry King Live on CNN that same year.

Seacrest's radio career also took off because of American Idol. In 2003, he was allowed to serve as the guest host of Rick Dees' top–rated, nationally syndicated morning radio show which originated in Los Angeles. Seacrest was given permission to do this despite the fact that Dees' show aired on a different station which competed with his station's morning show. By 2003, Seacrest left his afternoon radio show and Star 98.7 behind for a bigger television gig.

A long–time goal of Seacrest's was hosting his own television show, and the success of American Idol allowed him to do it. In 2003, with the help of FOX and his own production company—Ryan Seacrest Productions—Seacrest began hosting On–Air with Ryan Seacrest. This syndicated daytime talk/variety show which aired live in many markets. Seacrest had created the show and served as its executive producer.

Shot in Hollywood at a custom–built studio on the corner of Hollywood and Highland with a view of the famous Hollywood sign, On–Air with Ryan Seacrest was different than most daytime entertainment available. The show combined elements of other hit shows: It was seen as a modern–day American Bandstand, with elements of MTV's Total Request Live, late–night talk shows like those hosted by Craig Kilborn and Conan O'Brien, and infotainment news magazines like Entertainment Tonight and

Extra. The live studio audience experienced in–person interviews, performances on an outside stage, and in–house calls as well as pieces by correspondents. On–Air with Ryan Seacrest was supposed to air between 3 and 7 p.m. to catch a young audience that did not watch the news and had outgrown Total Request Live. Tag lined "We bring Hollywood to You," Seacrest's show struggled in its first year of existence. On July 27, 2004, it was announced that On-Air with Ryan Seacrest would end production. The show would broadcast through September 17 of that year. Seacrest also continued to host American Idol in its third season on FOX in 2004.

Seacrest did not neglect his radio career while working in television. Though he had left Star 98.7, in 2004 he became the host of American Top 40, a weekly nationally syndicated radio show which had been hosted for many years by Casey Kasem. It was one of the most popular nationally syndicated countdown shows, and Kasem had hosted it since its inception in 1970. When Seacrest took over, he changed the format to be more interactive between songs, with interviews and performances, and eliminated Kasem trademarks such as listener long–distance dedications. Seacrest recorded the program in a studio within his new television studio.

In early 2004, Seacrest added another regular job to his already busy schedule. When Dees left his morning show on KIIS–FM after many years, Seacrest was hired to replace the radio icon in the Los Angeles market. Seacrest's radio show was called On–Air with Ryan Seacrest like his television show, and was considered a big move up for him in radio.

Some critics believed that Seacrest was on the verge of being overexposed, if he was not already. In addition to the credits already mentioned, he appeared in commercials for AT&T Wireless, presented an award at the Emmys, and hosted both the American Radio Music Awards and the New Year's Eve show on FOX in 2003. Seacrest was even a correspondent on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for one night. Seacrest dismissed such criticisms. He told Rodney Ho of the Atlanta Journal–Constitution, "You have to look at the broadcast world differently. In broadcast, it's conventional to be on five days a week.… I feel good about it. I'm achieving a degree of ubiquity."

Overexposure might not be a problem in his future. Seacrest's long–term goals included producing more television shows and perhaps letting someone else host them down the line. He told Hilary De Vries of the New York Times, "I've always had this plan of doing what Dick Clark did—producing and hosting radio and television and building a business from it." While talking to Nicholas Fonseca of Entertainment Weekly, Seacrest added, "I want to continue producing and conceiving and selling my own shows. I want to do this for the next 60 years."

Sources

Books

Celebrity Biographies, Baseline II, 2004.

Periodicals

Atlanta Journal–Constitution, January 12, 2004, p. 1B; March 15, 2004, p. 25.

Broadcasting & Cable, June 2, 2003, p. 21; January 5, 2004, p. 29.

Daily News (New York), January 19, 2004, p. 32.

Entertainment Weekly, January 9, 2004, pp. 46–48.

Los Angeles Times, January 19, 2004, p. E13; February 23, 2004, p. E3.

Mediaweek, November 29, 1999, p. 44; June 25, 2001, p. 27.

New York Times, January 11, 2004, sec. 2, p. 30; January 19, 2004, p. E10.

People, May 1, 2003, p. 26; May 12, 2003, p. 129; January 19, 2004, p. 69; February 16, 2004, p. 32.

Time, January 26, 2004, p. 62.

Variety, September 25, 2000, p. 48.

A.Petruso

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