The Secrets of Seacrest's Success
Every weekday, Ryan rises early in Los Angeles to host, produce and book his syndicated radio show, On Air with Ryan Seacrest. When that show wraps, he has just two and a half minutes to prepare for job number two—hosting American Top 40, the radio show he inherited from the legendary Casey Kasem in 2004.
After signing off on a morning of radio, Ryan shifts gears as host and executive producer of E! News. Once Ryan's caught up on the day's top stories, he hits hair and makeup before taking the stage with co-host Giuliana Rancic.
Stopping only for a quick Twitter break, Ryan hits jobs four, five and six at Ryan Seacrest Productions, his multimillion-dollar production company, which churns out hit shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians. More than 10 hours after starting at the radio station, Ryan assumes his role as entreprenuer, seeks out new talent and creates original shows.
At the end of the day, Ryan heads over to the main event of his day—American Idol. This year, Ryan signed a $45 million, three-year contract with the biggest show on television, making him the highest-paid reality television host ever. "That's pressure," he says. "I actually have to be good at what I do now."
Ryan says he feels fortunate to be part of the Idol phenomenon. "It's changed television and music," he says. "Look at the success of the Idols and who's come out of it. You've got Grammy® winners and Oscar® winners."
So does Ryan have a favorite Idol winner? "That's like picking kids or puppies," he says. "I really loved seeing Carrie Underwood's success. ... She was someone who had never been on an airplane before she came to Hollywood, and now look at the success."
Ryan says Simon will be missed. "When his acerbic personality was first exposed to America, it was shocking. But then you realize he does have that inner voice that we all have—what we hear in our head, he says out loud," Ryan says. "I'm glad he says it out loud and not me."
Though their onscreen banter suggests a love-hate relationship, Ryan says he has nothing but respect for Simon. "I will regret this existing in the universe, but he's a terrific individual who's one of the sweetest guys that you're ever going to meet in the business," he says. "Even though he's tough on the show, he's got a really big heart, he's very generous and he's been a good friend of mine. That being said, we love to compete, and we love being competitive."
While Simon is often considered the king of mean, audiences have crowned Ellen the queen of nice. "When we spoke before she started, she was wondering: How is she going to be critical and kind? That's a tough equation because you do have to be honest," he says. "She [owns] herself on that show, and the chemistry's going to continue to be fantastic."
Ryan says Ellen's presence has also taken some pressure off his hosting duties. "She's funny," he says. "I don't have to try to be funny."
Though his mom, Conni, worried about how much sleep he lost, Ryan says he learned much of his work ethic from his parents. "My parents would always have us, as many times as we could, sit together for dinner and talk about what was happening in our lives, and so we created a great recipe where I could be completely honest with my mother and to an extent my father, being an attorney," he says. "That really helped me as a kid feel comfortable and confident to do what it is that I wanted to do."
"He used to say he didn't want to be an attorney like his dad because his dad worked too many hours," Conni says. "And then look at this."
His life isn't stress-free, but Ryan says it's easy to take challenges in stride. "I literally get up and get to do the one thing I dreamed about doing every day," he says. "And that is being a part of a television show and a radio show that is based in Hollywood."
Ryan also believes good karma brings great rewards. "I believe you put out what you get back," he says. "It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow. But it comes."
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