has officially announced he will host American Idol's
The big news Seacrest has signed on to host American Idol's
sixteenth season when it airs on ABC was announced Thursday morning on Live with Kelly and Ryan
"I've been waiting and waiting [to say this]. We've been talking about it for a little while. But I am happy to confirm with absolute confirmation that Ryan Seacrest
is returning as the host of American Idol
!" Ripa, 46, said on the talk show.
"Absolutely, without a doubt... I am very, very excited," Seacrest noted. "It's gonna be the best time."
ABC announced in May the network would be bringing back American Idol
, which aired its Season 15 finale in 2016 on Fox. Fox premiered Idol
back in 2002 and all of the seasons were hosted by Seacrest.
will definitely serve
as a judge on the panel, as she accepted a $25 million offer, but no other judges have been confirmed as of now.
A source recently told Us
that rocker and former Idol
finalist Chris Daughtry
will join the lineup of judges, while TMZ reported last month Lionel Richie
was also in talks about joining
Seacrest's announcement follows weeks of speculation about his Idol return
Seacrest reportedly had roller-coaster financial negotiations with ABC and FreMantle North America and additionally worried he'd have too much on his plate since Live with Kelly and Ryan
films on the East Coast and American Idol
films on the West Coast.
"I believe ABC is the perfect home for Idol
," Seacrest said in a Thursday statement.
"And I've every confidence the show's legions of fans will love it, especially Idol's
best traditions of showcasing heartwarming stories, remarkable talent discovery, and, best of all, making dreams come true."
According to The Hollywood Reporter
, Seacrest asked for a contract between $10-15 million as well as the title of an executive producer.
"I've always loved the show," Seacrest had told The Reporter
in June. "And if I could do it forever, I would do it forever... Who am I if not the American Idol
auditions are reportedly set to begin in mid-August and stop in 19 cities.