"Idol" host Ryan Seacrest signs $45 million deal

Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:03am EDT

Entertainer Ryan Seacrest attends the funeral for entertainer and producer Merv Griffin at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Beverly Hills, California August 17, 2007. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian/Pool

Entertainer Ryan Seacrest attends the funeral for entertainer and producer Merv Griffin at the Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Beverly Hills, California August 17, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Kevork Djansezian/Pool

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Ryan Seacrest is Fox's 45-Million-Dollar Man.

The "American Idol" host has closed a major new three-year deal with CKX, parent of "Idol" producer 19 Entertainment, worth $15 million per year.

Under the pact, which is believed to be the richest ever for a reality host, Seacrest will be exclusive to CKX in broadcast TV primetime to host "Idol" or any CKX-produced show that might succeed it.

The pact, which had been in the works for the past several weeks, more than triples his previous salary of slightly less than $5 million per season.

"Idol" producers 19, FremantleMedia North America and Fox all declined to comment on Seacrest's new deal, as did his attorneys. The pact is expected to be announced Monday.

Seacrest has a separate cable deal with Comcast and is E! Entertainment's lead anchor. He also produces such shows as E!'s "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" and ABC's upcoming Jamie Oliver reality series.

With Seacrest's renegotiation out of the way, the "Idol" producers will focus on securing the show's judges for next season.

Uber judge Simon Cowell has made statements that he might leave the singing competition when his contract is up at the end of next season. The British media have pegged his salary demands at more than $100 million per year.

The other judges -- Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi -- all have said they hope to close deals to return next season.

While the ratings for the reality juggernaut have slipped in the past couple of years, "Idol" remains the highest-rated series on television by a mile and is a windfall for its producers.

(Editing by DeanGoodman at Reuters)

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