Ryan Seacrest is the definition of a multitasker. At this exact moment, he is simultaneously producing five television series for different networks, preparing for the Golden Globes pre-show, hosting a daily radio show and the weekly TV's "American Top 40," as well as hosting TV's "American Idol."
Despite the exhaustion, stress and isolation this kind of lifestyle creates, Seacrest says he would have it no other way. "The reward and the fulfillment far outweighs the fatigue and the loneliness," he said of his busy schedule.
Seacrest has been somewhat of a jack of all trades since a young age.
"My life was school and football and student government," he said. "So I did a little bit of everything when I was a kid and that has become sort of become the motto of my business now, doing a little bit of everything."
His high school ambitions started Seacrest on a pattern of pursuing multiple interests at the same time, carefully studying his idols in each field. He became interested in a career with pop culture at a young age and meticulously researched his idols Dick Clark, Larry King, Merv Griffin and Casey Kasem to draw from the strengths of all of them in the pursuit of his own dreams.
"With Larry, he'll sit and ask questions not knowing where he's going to go. Not knowing where the guest is going to go. That's great," Seacrest said. "That's a massive security on the air. That's fantastic. You feel that confidence from him. Merv Griffin did something really amazing. And I still I just admire this so much. He would make every person on his show shine."
Drawing on what he learned, Seacrest has already begun to build an empire. In 2002, he began hosting "American Idol." In 2004, he took over for Kasem and began hosting "American Top 40."
Producing Pop Culture
Seacrest has lofty and grandiose goals — the kind people might laugh at, if they didn't know him.
"If I could have an entertainment company that produced television and radio and broke records and made stars and introduced up and coming stars to audiences, that would be fantastic. To host a show or two would be great, but I'd rather really have those shows be a part of our company," he said. "The plan is to produce pop culture."
Seacrest is well on his way, given the sheer number of pop culture projects he is currently involved with. However, it is the business, rather than the publicity or fame, that gives him his drive.
"I think all of us in this business love it when people are paying attention to us and love to be listened to or watched, but that's really not the driver for me," he said. "That is an added bonus and that is a lot of fun, but what is most exciting for me is problem solving, is figuring out how to bring all of these different components to work together simultaneously."
With these kinds of ambitions, it's no surprise that Seacrest doesn't get much sleep. He is so totally consumed by his business that he often wakes up in the middle of the night just to write down a new idea that popped into his head.
"I have a dry erase board at my house and I put up all the different things that I'm doing and I try and look at the macro approach of all of it," he said. "I'll wake up in the middle of the night and think of something and I'll go jot it down. And then the next day, I'll try to pick up that thought and run with it."
In 2005, Seacrest was honored for his accomplishments with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
"The best part about that day was that Simon Cowell had to come in my honor and stand and almost appreciate me for about an hour," Seacrest said. "It was really the most fulfilling aspect of the entire day."
Rivalry With Simon Cowell
Seacrest believes that Cowell only begrudgingly supported him because the two are extremely competitive, butting heads on air frequently. During the fifth season of "American Idol," Seacrest responded to Cowell's criticism of winner Tyler Hicks with a jab at his lavish lifestyle.
"OK let's start with Simon. Have you ever lived in the real world? He has staff at his house, staff here, a driver, a Rolls Royce. I mean please, that's hardly the real world," he told the audience.
Seacrest says that he and Cowell are constantly battling to one-up each other on "American Idol."
"The real way to describe the game is last word, when we go at it. Who gets the last word. And we keep score. And every commercial break we're tallying on the pages on the table. And I have a trick. If I feel like I'm losing control, I will toss to commercial so then I get the last word."
They don't only keep score during the commercial breaks, but at all times, engaging in an incessant back and forth that would make an average person's head spin.
"If he gets ratings for anything he's produced or anything he's been on, he will literally fax me the ratings before they go out to any of the press," Seacrest explained. "If he closes a deal with anyone about anything, I get a copy of the press release before it goes out. That's the relationship we have."
Seacrest doesn't miss a beat, and when he found out that he was hosting the Emmys in September he texted Cowell immediately to brag.
Cowell, however, was less than impressed with that performance, telling E!, "there were a few uncomfortable moments. We were expecting a two, so I'm going to give him a 2½. So he did better than expected."
While Seacrest is extremely driven and appears almost cutthroat with Cowell, co-workers describe him as a nice guy.
"I will tell you the best thing is that, he actually is a very nice person, he's a nice person. You want to hate him because he's pretty and he makes a lot of money, but you can't hate him," Ryan's "E! News" co-host Giuliana Rancic said.
With so many accomplishments under his belt, one might wonder why Seacrest doesn't call it quits, or at least take a long break. While he won't admit that he's never satisfied, it's clear that he will never be complacent.
"There's definitely satisfaction, but that satisfaction fortunately creates more drive and keeps you from falling into complacency," he said. "And at my age and with the energy fortunately that I have, I don't want to fall into that place of complacency. I want to keep pushing."