(AP) Seacrest is heir apparent to Clark’s pop influence
By SANDY COHEN
AP Entertainment Writer
As a kid, Ryan Seacrest idolized Dick Clark. As an adult, he modeled his career after the entertainment giant and helped him carry on with his annual New Year’s Eve celebration after a stroke took its toll.
He called the 82-year-old mogul who died Wednesday “one of the greatest influences in my life.”
Now Seacrest _ uncannily in the Dick Clark mold _ is left to carry on the youthful vitality and innovative spirit that Clark used so effectively to meld music and media.
And the 37-year-old is well on his way. Following Clark’s playbook, Seacrest started as a radio host before expanding to TV and eventually producing. He’s the voice of his nationally syndicated morning radio show and the international program “American Top 40.” He’s the face of “American Idol” and E! News. He’s the producer behind “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and its associated spinoffs, along with many other shows, including “Food Revolution” and “Shahs of Sunset.” He’s on the red carpet at the Grammys and Golden Globes. He’ll be an Olympic correspondent for NBC and has hinted that he could take on a role at the “Today” show.
Clark parlayed his early radio dreams into a nearly four-decade run of “American Bandstand.” He invested in the artists he promoted there and went on to produce hit shows like “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes” and the American Music Awards.
Seacrest enjoys a similar omnipresence, said veteran Hollywood publicist David Brokaw.
Seacrest paid tribute to his mentor on “American Idol” on Wednesday, saying, “Without Dick, a show like this would not exist.”
Among Seacrest’s other entertainment ventures: A $300 million partnership with broadcasting giant Clear Channel to acquire and develop new media companies.
It’s also far more fragmented than ever before. Clark came up in the era before countless cable channels and the World Wide Web. Now the entertainment audience is everywhere.
Seacrest shares other attributes with Clark that contribute to his success, Brokaw said. He’s likable, he’s got a “cherubic boyish charm and enthusiasm” that makes him feel like a friend and he has a hand in various entertainment entities.
And, like Clark, Seacrest is a star maker.
Clark’s clean-cut and ever-youthful image appealed to people of all ages and helped make rock `n’ roll palatable to a generation of parents, just as Seacrest now does with today’s stars.
Clark “was smart, charming, funny and always a true gentleman,” Seacrest said Wednesday. “I learned a great deal from him, and I’ll always be indebted to him for his faith and support of me. He was a remarkable host and businessman and left a rich legacy to television audiences around the world.”
Now Seacrest hopes to do the same.
AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen is on Twitter: www.twitter.com/APSandy.