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If Seacrest is worth $45 million, how much will Simon Cowell get?

Is Ryan Seacrest worth $45 million?

SEACREST Congratulations to Seacrest on his new guaranteed three-year contract to host "American Idol." According to SEC documents filed by CKX Inc., the  parent of "Idol" producer 19 Entertainment, Seacrest is getting $10 million a year as host and a one-time payment of $15 million for his merchandising rights. Even his expense account got a boost, going from $100,000 annually to $300,000.

The eye-raising contract, which doubles Seacrest's hosting salary, comes at a time when the media in general and broadcast television in particular is being belted in the face by the recession. The networks are struggling to sell ad time for the fall season and the ratings for "Idol," while still strong, have been on the decline for the last few years. This past season, "American Idol" averaged 26.6 million viewers, down 12.5% from two years ago.

This isn't to take anything away from Seacrest's talents. He is a tireless worker, top radio personality and budding reality producer who is also pulling down millions from a deal with Comcast's E! cable channel. He does a good job of playing a foil to Simon Cowell.

But the YouTube moments of "American Idol"  involve the four judges, and Cowell in particular -- not the host.

COWELL Cowell's team must be salivating at Seacrest's new deal. His current salary is about $36 million annually, more than three times as much Seacrest's new hosting deal. But the big bump for Seacrest will make it difficult for CKX to play hardball with the program's main draw when his contract expires next spring. Speculation is that Cowell's next deal will bring him north of $40 million annually.

That's obviously a hefty sum, but keep in mind that even with shrinking ratings the show is still a huge hit and financial powerhouse. The finale of "American Idol" can command more than $1 million per commercial and the program has brought in billions in revenue for Fox and producers 19 Entertainment and Freemantle Media. Cowell is the straw that stirs that drink.

Of course, no one is irreplaceable. Believe it or not, there was a time when few thought Jon Stewart could succeed Craig Kilborn on "The Daily Show."

-- Joe Flint

Photo Credits: Ryan Seacrest (top) by Dan Steinberg/Associated Press; Simon Cowell by Jason Merritt/Getty Images.

Comments () | Archives (6)

This compensation is absurd. Sign me up I want to work on American Idol. there is a related post at http://iamsoannoyed.com/?page_id=588

American Idol has "jumped the shark."

No one is worth $45,000,000. i am sick of the millions that are spread around on Sports figures, celebrities, and stock and bank executives. There are so many people not making anything -unemployment benefits finished -no jobs available. Our system should be made more equitable. I am not against someone making more money than me-but I am against people making millions while others have little or nothing. 45,000,000 people cannot go to a doctor when ill, yet one man will receive $45,000,000 for hosting a TV show. Lets make the the 'American Dream real -not a fantasy for greed.

Is anyone "worth" $45 million? Does anyone actually need to make that much money -- for any reason? How 'bout we compensate entertainers for entertaining us? -- After all, they're not saving anyone from heart disease, reformulating fuels to combat global warming, or solving that pesky worldwide hunger problem. Entertainment and sports industry people always argue that they are adding value and therefore deserve to be well paid. But how well is "well paid"?

Here's an idea: How 'bout we pay people a reasonable salary (wouldn't $5 million a year be enough to live on?) and then use leftover ad revenues to save people from heart disease, reformulate fuels to combat global warming, or feed hungry children? Instead of some trumped-up "Idol Gives Back" sham where guys like Ryan Seacrest ask us to give him yet more money (how noble! Ryan will travel to Africa to give our money away! while we sit in our shabby living rooms watching him!), we could just give the money to the desperate, the sick, the broken, and the hungry call it a Really Good Day.

Maybe that would give America something true to be proud of.

Sorry, Ryan and SImon. I'm not buying it. Or you.

I agree with the first post. NO ONE is actually WORTH that much money.
However if the network has that much money to offer, it means they are making that much ridiculous money off of the efforts/names of people like Ryan and Simon. I would be demanding my "fair" percentage as well.

On a second note, IF the network is truly rolling in that kind of funding they should be spreading it all the way down to the "little people" too. Which (from someone who has a family member in production in the LA area)-- they aren't doing. It would do a heck of a lot for boosting the economy in CA....

So shame on them...

Hollywood - whether it's in a recession or not - has always and continues to operate on an entirely different economic system.

However many years ago, Brando got $4million for a day's work on Superman. One day. $4m for 10 minutes of film.

Today the numbers are much bigger but the principle remains the same.


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