Ryan Seacrest Signs Three-Year, $45M American Idol Contract

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Ryan Seacrest is apparently worth $15 million a year to American Idol.

Does that mean Simon Cowell is worth $50-100 million per season?

We aren't sure about the latter, but Seacrest just closed a new three-year, $45 million deal with CKX, parent of American Idol producer 19 Entertainment.

Under the pact, the reality TV staple will be exclusive to CKX in broadcast TV primetime to host American Idol or any CKX show that might succeed it.

The deal more than triples his salary from around $5 million a season.

Seacrest Inc.

BIG SHOT: Thanks to his new American Idol deal, producer-host Ryan Seacrest is now one of TV's highest-paid personalities, if not THE highest. [Photo: Fame Pictures]

Arguably the king of 21st Century media, Ryan Seacrest has a cable deal with Comcast and is E!'s lead anchor. He produces such reality shows as Keeping Up with the Kardashians, It's Complicated and ABC's upcoming Jamie Oliver reality series.

He's even jump-starting Lindsay Lohan's production company.

American Idol producers will are now focusing on securing the show's judges for next season. Simon Cowell has made statements that he might leave the smash singing competition when his contract is up at the end of next season.

Some British media sources have pegged his salary demands at more than $100 million per year, which sounds ridiculous, but if Seacrest earns $15 million ...

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

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