Ryan Seacrest returning as ‘American Idol’ host? The plot thickens

American Idol is coming back, and heralding its return are a bunch of rumors about who’s going to host and who’s going to judge.

Most of the talk has been about the hosting gig: Ryan Seacrest is reportedly being considered to reprise his classic Idol role as ABC reboots the Fox show, with one outlet saying Seacrest’s return to the show has been the plan for a while now.

Another familiar face popping up for the revival is Kelly Clarkson, Fox’s first American Idol winner. She’s interested in a seat at the judges’ table and ABC is expressing “serious interest,” according to TMZ.

Supposedly Clarkson is “clearing her schedule” for the months the show would be in production.

“She was so remarkable and sincere and lovely when she came on at the last season,” Seacrest told Entertainment Tonight on Wednesday in response to the rumors.

“I think she’d make a fantastic judge.”

So yeah, back to Seacrest. Whether that’s nearly a done deal or just something some folks are chatting about is up for debate, according to Variety.

A source described as close to Seacrest said the latter, allowing that “Ryan has a lot of affection for American Idol given the show’s significance to his career” but labelling talks as being only “in the early stages.”

However, another source, described as an “insider,” told Variety the situation was down to the “final tweaks,” and TMZ said days ago that the deal between Seacrest and ABC was all the way to “closed.”

During Live With Kelly and Ryan on Monday — the day before the Idol reboot news was officially announced on Good Morning America — Seacrest told Kelly Ripa that he’d heard rumors about the show coming back only the week before and played dumb about returning to his former contestant-wrangling duties.

“I said at the end of the series, ‘Goodbye for now,’ hoping somewhere it would come back,” he told Ripa, who enthusiastically encouraged him to re-up as host.

She even told him she’d cover for him on Live so he could “disconnect” when he had to do AI, which is a pretty nice favor to do for someone who’s been your cohost for less than two weeks.

But there might be a reason for Ripa’s unbridled enthusiasm. On Wednesday, a Page Six source painted Seacrest’s gee-I-don’t-know act as a cover for what’s really going on.

“This isn’t some spur-of-the-moment deal,” an “insider” told the New York Post’s gossip column.

“It’s a part of his move to ABC.”

“It’s a no-brainer,” the source continued. “He took the job for ‘Idol’ and to host ‘Live.’ It’s the only way ABC could pay him enough money to come over.”

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