The WSJ published a profile on Fox's American Idol host, and executive producer of E!'s Married to Jonas and Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Ryan Seacrest, that reveals him as a media mogul in the making "with a driving ambition that conjures the mailroom-to-mogul stories of Hollywood."
And though Seacrest's reality television productions might be frowned upon by the "cultural elites," and the $300 million raised on his behalf by private equity firm Bain Capital may result controversial to some, the NBC Today and London 2012 Olympics guest commentator is a role model for millennials because of his upward mobility journey from chubby Georgia teenager to the next Dick Clark or Merv Griffin.
Here are 7 reasons why:
1. American idol:
Despite the Randy Jackson, Katy Perry, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj's dramas, Ryan's "Idol" $15 million-a year paycheck makes him not only one of the most popular and successful but also best compensated television personalities.
2. On Air With Ryan Seacrest:
Seacrest's Clear Channel radio deal—including the weekday On Air With Ryan Seacrest and the weekend American Top 40 -- draws more than 20 million U.S. listeners a week. Seacrest's compensation for keeping radio very much alive and relevant to the next generation? $25 million a year.
To take advantage of the 2011 merger with NBCUniversal, Comcast renegotiated its deal with Seacrest, so he can continue hosting and producing for the cable channel. No wonder he hangs out with the likes of DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and Clear Channel own chief executive Robert Pittman.
4. The Kardashians:
Love it or hate it, E!'s Keeping Up with the Kardashians, the Seacrest-produced reality television program, has become a pop cultural phenomenon that has originated spin off shows and a tsunami of related enterprises and merchandising. Seacrest pitched the show back in 2007, after meeting the Kardashians socially at a barbecue where he happened to hold the video camera.
5. Married to Jonas:
E!'s new series is Seacrest's second attempt to a a reality television series home run. The program focus on Kevin Jonas (from the Jonas Brothers) and Danielle Deleasa's married life; as well as on the band's 2012 "comeback."
6. The London Olympics:
Seacrest helped America relate to its Olympic stars through personal interviews with Team USA's Danell Leyva, Missy Franklin, Michael Phelps and McKayla Maroney -- among others -- during his guest host stint with NBC at Today and The London 2012 Olympics.
Seacrest hired his former agent, Adam Sher, to head a new production company, Ryan Seacrest Productions, attracting a $300 million commitment from its private-equity backers.
Julianne Hough, a 24-year-old actress who made her name as a champion on Dancing With the Stars, and has since starred in movies including Rock of Ages, is forcing Seacrest to take more downtime.