‘American Idol’ notes: Seacrest finally signs deal, Lionel Richie, Carrie Underwood, Jason Castro

Ryan Seacrest during the “American Idol” season finale in 2015. CREDIT: Getty Images

This was posted Thursday, July 20, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Ryan Seacrest has finally signed off on hosting the ABC version of “American Idol” in 2018 after extended negotiations that dragged on for weeks. He confirmed the news on “Live With Kelly and Ryan” this morning.

So far, ABC has only signed one celebrity judge Katy Perry to the panel. Her huge payout reportedly in the $25 million range led “Idol” owner Fremantle to offer Seacrest a far smaller amount, which almost led him to drop out of the running, according to reporting by The Hollywood Reporter. But they got him back to the table with a deal worth north of $10 million with other perks that have not been released.

It appears they needed Seacrest on board first so they could assess their budgets to sign other judges.

Seacrest on “Live” said he never thought the show was in bad enough shape to go away at all.

“The show is going, we thought well and then all of a sudden we broke up,” Seacrest said, regarding Fox ending the show in 2016. “I thought it would be great to get back together at some point.”

Seacrest spent all 15 seasons of “Idol” on Fox as host and has always had deep affection for the program since it helped propel him to the place he’s at today.

Logistically, he will do live “Idol” shows Sunday evenings, then do a red eye back to New York in time to do “Live” at 9 a.m. and his radio show. Auditions will begin in mid August. Like the final season of “Idol” on Fox, he isn’t obligated to have to be at every audition.

Eliminated contestants will show up on “Live” after they exit “Idol.”

RELATED: Quiz testing how much you know about Seacrest

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LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 01: Lionel Richie attends the Nordoff Robbins O2 Silver Clef Awards at The Grosvenor House Hotel on July 1, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Lionel Richie has been long rumored to be in talks to join “Idol.” He didn’t deny it when talking to Seacrest on his radio show recently.

“It’s probably out of my norm,” Richie says of becoming a judge, “but so in my norm….having you on the show, I can’t imagine it being boring by any stretch of the imagination.”

Seacrest said he thinks Richie would be “terrific” in the role.

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Part-time Atlantan Shaquille O’Neal is a Carrie Underwood fan. Who knew? This is just downright bizarre but in a total vein of Shaq’s sense of humor. Are you “Blown Away”?

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Funny Tweet of the week from Clay Aiken:

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Jason Castro, who finished fourth season seven,  is having a third child.

Having a popsicle before she POPS! We're are excited to announce that we are expecting GIRL NUMBER THREE!!!

A post shared by Jason Castro (@jasoncastromusic) on


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