Possible Pay Cut Puts Ryan Seacrest's American Idol Future in Flux: Is He Replaceable?

Seacrest out? As American Idol host Ryan Seacrest enters the final season of his latest, three-year deal with the money-printing Fox megahit, all signs are pointing to the possibility of him being asked to swallow a pay cut and/or him exiting the series in favor of a gig with, perhaps, NBC.

While Seacrest’s most recent deal with Idol‘s producers netted him a cool $45 million over three years, a source tells The Hollywood Reporter, “There’s no way Fremantle and CKx will continue to pay Ryan that kind of money when he can be replaced for $2 million to $3 million.”

And swapping out Idol‘s host isn’t as far-fetched as it may seem, given last season’s rather bump-free transition of judges (adding Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler to the mix).

Seacrest’s possible Plan Bs include his recurring presence on NBC’s Today blooming into him all-out replacing Matt Lauer (should the veteran cohost not agree to a new deal with the morning program). And with Seacrest’s contract with E! Entertainment owner NBC Universal due for renewal soon as well, he could be offered an even sweeter piece of the Peacock pie. As one insider said to THR, “NBC would love to get Ryan out of Idol because they have The Voice…, and NBC is looking for leverage with Lauer.”