Nigel Lythgoe reportedly offering cash to keep Ryan Seacrest on 'Idol'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 01/19/2012
American Idol host Ryan Seacrest is reportedly getting some contract negotiation support from an unlikely source: Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe.
While recent reports have claimed Fox plans to make Seacrest take a pay cut from his current $15 million-a-year contract as part of his upcoming negotiations for a new American Idol contract, Lythgoe is pledging to "make up the difference out of his own pocket," TMZ reported Thursday.
Lythgoe has reportedly labeled Seacrest -- whose current contract expires at the conclusion of Idol's currently-airing eleventh season -- to be "extremely important" to the show and admitted he doesn't know how it would remain successful without him.
"I think everyone has come to realize the value of Ryan Seacrest. It's very hard to imagine [American Idol] without Ryan. We certainly want to keep him," Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly told reporters during a Television Critics Association press tour panel in Los Angeles earlier this month.
Seacrest told reporters at a later panel that the feeling is mutual and it's be tough for him to ever leave Idol.
"I love this television show... and I can't imagine life without American Idol," the 37-year-old host explained.
Reilly also insisted at the time that while contract discussions regarding Seacrest's future involvement with Idol have yet to begin, it will be a "tough negotiation" but one that would "come to a conclusion pretty quickly."