Friday, August 7, 2009


Rumors that Seacrest inked a deal that increased his American Idol paycheck to $15 million a year are not accurate, said Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Rice.

Seacrest, Rice explained, is not actually getting paid that amount for his work on Idol -- and, in fact, his contract with the show has not changed at all.

Rise said that while Seacrest may have gotten a raise, any additional money that he might earn has nothing to do with his work on American Idol. It would instead stem from a deal between the host and 19 Entertainment parent company CKX.

"Ryan made a deal with CKS," Rice said, "which encompasses much more than just 'Idol.' And Ryan is not being paid $15 million a year to be on 'Idol.'"

Last month Forbes reported that, according to reports, Seacrest did sign a $45 million contract with CKX "to remain with the News Corp-owned Fox show. The deal is believed to give the company exclusivity for Seacrest's on-camera services on broadcast TV."

The article continued, "The eight-figure salary sounds steep, but it's just a small sliver of the fortune the show's producers and distributors enjoy.

"Consider this: American Idol delivered $96 million in revenue for 19 Entertainment last year with gross profit margins ballooning to 77% during the period, according to the financial statements of CKX. FreemantleMedia, the series' production company, is believed to receive somewhere between one-third and one-half of the revenue steams 19 Entertainment sees from the show. Fox and 19 Entertainment declined comment."

"And according to TNS Media Intelligence, which tracks ad spending, the series generated $843 million in ad revenue in its most recent season. An average 30-second spot set Madison Avenue buyers back $707,000, the most expensive regular series ad buy in prime time." And Forbes says that Fox executives have "shrewdly" used the series as a platform to launch or boost other Fox shows.

While it may be true that Seacrest will not collect $15 million a year from Idol work, there hardly seems cause for his fans to worry about his finances. He was ranked #44 on Forbes 2009 Celebrity 100 list -- with his pay listed at $38 million.

And fans need not feel sorry for judge Simon Cowell either. Cowell is ranked #25 on the list with pay set at an even higher $75 million! And, of course, there has been talk that Cowell might not renew with Idol -- and talk that to renew he wants a signficant raise. Fobes wrot, "Most likely scenario: Idol stays, Cowell gets richer."

Forbes, in commenting on Seacrest: "The hardest-working man in entertainment: hosts American Idol, a top 40 radio countdown, E! News and other red-carpet events, plus ABC's New Year's Eve special. In addition to lucrative deals with both ClearChannel Radio and the Comcast Entertainment Group, he develops and produces TV shows, including E's Keeping up with the Kardashians and NBC's Momma's Boys. (He) has endorsement deals with Proctor & Gamble and Coca-Cola."

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