American Idol: Ryan Seacrest Inks New Deal to Return For Season 18

Ryan Seacrest 'American Idol'

Brian Dunkleman can stand down: Ryan Seacrest has signed on to return as host of American Idol.

With Seacrest’s new deal in place, Idol heads into its third season on ABC (and its 18th season overall) with its entire team — including judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie, and in-house mentor Bobby Bones — intact, despite cost-cutting buzz.

The Seacrest announcement follows week of speculation that the Idol staple might not return. Last spring, he took his first-ever Idol sick day, prompting Bones to fill in as host for one of the broadcasts. (At the time, 23 percent of TVLine readers said they preferred Bones to Seacrest, while 33 percent said they didn’t notice much of a difference between the two.)

American Idol has been my home for 17 seasons and I can’t wait to return to the stage,” Seacrest said in a statement. “It’s the greatest gift to be able to play a part in discovering new talent with a franchise that has been such a relevant part of American culture for so many years.”

Added ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke, “We are delighted that our entire Idol dream team will be reuniting for the upcoming season on ABC. Ryan has been hosting Idol since the beginning, and the energy and enthusiasm he brings to the show after 17 seasons are remarkable. We can’t wait to see what’s in store as Ryan, our superstar judges and in-house mentor set out on their nationwide search for the next great music sensation.”

Are you relieved that Seacrest will be back as host of American Idol? Or were you hoping that the long-running music competition series would make a change?