Kelly Ripa is reportedly pissed that just weeks after Ryan Seacrest joined her on their newly renamed ABC daytime show, now trading as Live with Kelly and Ryan, the star host is already being courted for an additional new role, reprising his duties as American Idol host.
The singing contest will return to our screens on ABC, which picked up the show when Fox dropped it after 15 seasons.
“She doesn’t want a repeat of the Michael Strahan situation,” a source tells Page Six today, referring to the awkward stand-off that developed with her former co-host last year after she was not pre-informed of an announcement that he was leaving the show.
The source added: “It’s like ABC is once again diluting the attention on Live. She wants to make sure her show is Ryan’s first priority, not Idol,” a source told Page Six.
The allegation was denied in asweeping statement by ABC who told Page Six, “Everything is categorically not true.”
Seacrest would of course be the natural choice for the revived Idol, having hosted it since its inception in 2002.
The announcement by ABC that it was bringing back the talent show a year after it’s apparent demise is said to have come as no surprise to Seacrest.
“This isn’t some spur-of-the-moment deal. It’s a part of his move to ABC,” an insider said, according to Page Six.
“It’s a no-brainer. He took the job for Idol and to host Live. It’s the only way ABC could pay him enough money to come over. They’ll have to announce it before upfronts,” the source added.
The 'upfronts' - at which networks present their new shows to key advertisers - are due to begin in less than two weeks.
Seacrest’s rep said the claim was ‘untrue’ and that, “his Live deal was made independent of any Idol discussions. His priority is Live With Kelly and Ryan and his radio show.”
Other sources also contradicted the story, telling Page Six, Ripa is, “100-percent onboard” adding, “Kelly is in the loop. She had approval over the co-host, so Ryan was her first choice. It was a very calculated decision by the network and by her. Everyone is thrilled. They’ve known each other 15 years . . . They really are friends,” an insider said.
Indeed, Ripa appeared to encourage Seacrest in an on-air conversation on Monday’s show.
“I don’t know about that part yet,” Seacrest told Ripa on Monday’s show when she asked if he would return as Idol host. “We haven’t gotten that far. This was news to me, actually, last week. I had said at the end of the series, ‘Goodbye for now,’ hoping somewhere it would come back.”
Seacrest added, “I don’t know if I can host it. Do you know the preparation I have to do for this every night?”
Ripa responded by telling him, “Yes you can!”
Undoubtedly Seacrest’s return would lend credibility and excitement to the show’s reboot, but his packed schedule would make taking on Idol difficult, especially since the show has always been shot in Los Angeles.
Variety speculates that a move to New York would likely “drive up production costs on an already expensive show”.