The rumors have been in the wind for a while, but now that the competition show is officially returning, we have to start taking them seriously. Though it seems impossible that Ryan Seacrest could host American Idol what with his brand new gig co-hosting Live! alongside Kelly Ripa, shockingly — or I guess not shockingly, if you know his personality — Seacrest hasn't ruled it out. American Idol has been off the air for just over a year now, giving the host a well-deserved break after 15 seasons. But now that Idol has been scooped up by ABC, the position is open again, and the obstacles in the way of Seacrest resuming his duties are falling away.
During its previous tenure on FOX, American Idol was always filmed in Los Angeles, which was Seacrest's home base. Since he's now moved to New York to be closer to Live!, it seemed like all that cross-country travel would be a deal-breaker. TMZ put together a mock-up of the kind of schedule that Seacrest would have to maintain in order to make it work, and it required so much back-and-forth to the coasts that it didn't seem feasible — that is, until all these recent circumstances fell into place.
But now, a source with Idol's production company FremantleMedia alleges that it's "entirely possible to do American Idol in New York City," and, in fact maybe even necessary. The source claims that Seacrest is seen as "the glue that keeps the show together" and that "A reboot without him is almost unthinkable. The fans want the show to come back and they want it with Ryan."
Take that with a grain of salt, but it's at least certainly hard to imagine Idol continuing without Seacrest after all these years. And he seems to feel the same way. On the May 8 episode of Live, he acknowledged that, even as American Idol was being canceled, he'd always held out hope that it might not be permanent:
Well no, not really, but Kelly Ripa does, and she's been nothing but encouraging of her fellow Live host to take the opportunity. "Your nights are free you don’t have that much to do," she said in that same episode. "You can do this! You can disconnect for that! On the days where it is the day after, I will totally — you won’t even have to think, I will do it all!"
So, basically, with every day that goes by, one of Seacrest's excuses not to return to American Idol goes spinning down the drain. If I know the host, he's going to end up signing back on, crazy schedule or no crazy schedule. That's just the kind of guy he is.