Would American Idol still succeed without Ryan Seacrest?

With the consummate host's contract with the reality TV competition set to expire, pundits are imagining a "Seacrest, out" scenario

With Ryan Seacrest's contract running out after the upcoming season of "American Idol," some critics say Fox should do everything in its power to hold onto the popular host.
(Image credit: Michael Becker / FOX)

Seacrest, out? During a press conference for American Idol over the weekend, producers revealed that Ryan Seacrest's contract as the show's longtime host expires at the end of the upcoming season (which begins next week), and that getting him to renew will be "a tough negotiation." In addition to his Idol gig, Seacrest hosts a morning radio show, produces several reality series — including Keeping Up With the Kardashians — and co-anchors E! News Live. Beyond that, there's rampant speculation that he's being wooed to join the hosting team at Today, should Matt Lauer leave at the end of his contract this year. Fox execs say it's "hard to imagine" Idol without Seacrest manning the ship, but pundits are starting to picture what the reality show might look like without the congenial host. Would American Idol still work without Seacrest as its emcee?

No way: When Simon Cowell and Kara DioGuardi were replaced by Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, the renewed enthusiasm for the show was attributed largely to the new judges, says Mack Rawden at Cinema Blend. But perhaps more of that success is "owed to another man." Seacrest played a pivotal role in making sure the transition was seamless. "He's the best live host on television." And "without his steady hand, I'm not sure the program could maintain its current viewership."

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