News, scoops, reviews and more from TV land.
Ryan Seacrest to 'Today:' Good idea? Terrible idea?
"Ryan Seacrest, co-anchor, 'Today Show."
Savor those words. Or rue those words. But all of a sudden that phrase has the ring of potential reality. NBC is not denying -- which means it is confirming -- a Wall Street Journal piece that says network executives met with Ryan Monday night about replacing Matt Lauer when he leaves. There is no time table for that, or at least none that has been publicly revealed; his deal was supposed to be up next year, but an extension was worked out.
So we are now left with this possibility. Let's proceed on the assumption that dear old Ryan is at the top of the network's wish list. Brilliant move or dumb move? To the reasons!
10 reasons why this could work:
1) Seacrest is a smart guy -- he can figure out how to do this gig.
2) Seacrest is a not-bad interviewer. Don't believe me? Listen to his radio show; he asks the right, or at least the "populist" questions that his listeners want asked. He's not a tough interviewer, but could learn to be.
3) Ann Curry could do the hard news interviews -- and she's done a lot of high-profile ones already -- letting RyCrest build his chops.
4) Seacrest has that requisite ironic wit that "Today" fans seem to savor in their hosts -- or at least with Matt. He's reasonably fast on the uptake.
5) He wouldn't hold his nose when he does all of those awful celebrities-selling-their-latest-stuff chats; as good as George Stephanopoulos has turned out at "GMA," I'm still left with the sense that every time he has to mention -- say -- the words "Lindsay Lohan," a small piece of his soul dies.
6 ) He's a skillful broadcaster who certainly understands live TV with its ruthless attention to the clock.
7) He'd lose that "lightweight" image in time -- or at least some of it. People seem to forget that Matt once worked for Richard Bey.
8) He'd bring that "stardust" to the show; it's an indefinable quality, this stardust thing, but if anybody has it, he has it.
9) He'd laugh at Al Roker's and Ann's jokes and actually appear to have been amused by them -- in other words, he's got the gift of blarney.
10) He'd bring a lot of attention to a show that's suddenly in a bit of a dogfight with "GMA," which is adding viewers.
And now . . . the reasons why this idea stinks, from the head down
1) Oh, come on! He is light as a feather! The first half-hour of "Today" is hard news, or sort of hard news; he just hasn't got the skill set (yet) for that.
2) If you're a news person you care about the news, and the world -- and there is no hard evidence that RyCrest cares about anything other than his growing empire.
3) He's overexposed. He's everywhere, and he really is everywhere. Can there be too much of Ryan? Of course there can.
4) Ryan has fronted some pretty dreadful reality shows -- including the appalling parade of Kardashian krap. Do we really want our host of "Today" to also be the man who helped engineer the wedding of Kris and Kim?
5) He's based in California -- and there's no reason to assume he'd switch coasts for this gig.
6) He's already a kingpin -- what more would this add? And to add rhetorically to this thought, do viewers really want someone who is building an entertainment empire in his own name while running "Today?" Is not the host of "Today" supposed to be a disinterested party when reporting on matters of the world?
7) He actually may be too glib.
8) He can't do "American Idol" and this AND the red carpet AND the radio. He just can't. Take your choice, Ryan.
9) He may be a bit too much of a star; hosts traditionally are not supposed to be more glam than the people they interview.
10) Not enough money in the universe to pay him. RyCrest makes -- by one estimate I saw and have no real reason to doubt -- about $125 million a year through his various enterprises. "Idol" alone is a $15 million payday for not even half a year's work! NBC and Comcast might work out some sort of complicated remuneration tied to E! which also pays him vast sums, but, again, should the host of "Today" be the wealthiest person in the world, or one of them?