Ryan Seacrest inks new 4-year deal to host ABC's 'New Year's Rockin' Eve' (exclusive)

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Ryan Seacrest is staying put at ABC.

The prolific producer and host has inked a new deal to continue fronting the network's long-running ball-drop special, New Year's Rockin' Eve, for four more years. The pact also keeps Seacrest within the Disney fold as industry rumors swirl that he could be a contender for Michael Strahan's slot on ABC's Live! with Kelly and Michael, though ABC brass is said to be waiting for the dust to settle before making any decisions about a replacement.

Insiders point to Seacrest's proven skill-set as a morning host (albeit on the radio) as well as his rapport with Ripa. (He has been a frequent guest on Live!, and together he and Ripa have co-hosted the Disney parade for ABC.) What's more, for the first time in 15 years, the former American Idol emcee's schedule has eased up considerably. What's unlikely, however, is to see Seacrest — or any other true A-lister in contention — partake in the inevitable parade of guest hosts that will follow Strahan's mid-May exit.

To be sure, a New York-based A.M. talk show would require a major logistical reshuffling as Seacrest currently fronts a multi-hour daily radio show out of Los Angeles. He also has a series of other high-profile commitments, including hosting duties for red carpet specials on E! and a late-night live show at the Summer Olympics in Rio for NBC. He has a collection of scripted (Shades of Blue) and unscripted shows (Keeping Up with the Kardashians) that he produces through his eponymous Ryan Seacrest Productions as well.

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As for his long-standing role at ABC, Rockin' Eve currently is the priority. The news of him re-upping comes some two years after dick clark productions and ABC extended its deal to broadcast the special, which regularly beats its time-slot competition, for another 10 years. The net's 2015 coverage reached nearly 60 million viewers over the course of the night, up 16 percent from a year earlier. Among the coveted 18-49 demo, the special, which featured 38 musical performances, was up 19 percent.

"Ryan has been a great partner and together we have managed to set record ratings for New Year's Rockin' Eve, while continuing the tradition of the show being the place-to-be on New Year's Eve in America," dick clark productions CEO Allen Shapiro said in a statement, with ABC's Senior VP alternative programming, specials and late night Robert Mills adding of the franchise: "[It's] a perennial ratings success, and Ryan has seamlessly helmed this show for over a decade. He is a most worthy successor to Dick's legacy.

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Ryan Seacrest inks new 4-year deal to host ABC's 'New Year's Rockin' Eve' (exclusive)
Fireworks explode over the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House during New Year's Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 01: Fireworks light up the sky from The Sydney Harbour Bridge at midnight during New Years Eve celebrations on Sydney Harbour on 01 January, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)
People release balloons to celebrate the New Year during the annual countdown ceremony by the Prince Park Tower Tokyo on January 1, 2014. Some 2,000 balloons were released in the air carrying visitors's wishes. AFP PHOTO/ KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks around the Minato Mirai Building group
A Buddhist woman attaches her name card on a lantern ahead of the new year at Chogye Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
Buddhists attend New Year's Eve celebrations at the Bongeun Buddhist temple in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
Fireworks explode over Juche Tower and the Taedong River in Pyongyang, North Korea to celebrate the New Year on Wednesday, Jan 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
A Thai anti-government protester waves national flag as dancers perform on the stage, background, during a rally on New Year's Eve at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
Thai anti-government protesters wave national flags as a speaker addresses the crowd on the stage during a rally on New Year's Eve at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
Fireworks burst over the Singapore skyline during New Year celebrations on January 1, 2014. An eight-minute firework display was launched in a five-pronged formation that illuminate the skyline to welcome 2014. AFP PHOTO/ROSLAN RAHMAN (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks explode over the financial district at midnight, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014 in Singapore. Celebrations started on New Year's Eve where concerts were held and thousands gathered on the streets to usher in the Year 2014. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
Fireworks explode as thousands of people line the streets of downtown Jakarta to welcome in the New Year in Indonesia, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Balinese girls in traditional costumes gather during a parade for this year's last sundown in Bali island, Indonesia on New Year's Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)
SURABAYA, INDONESIA - DECEMBER 31: Indonesian people set up fireworks to celebrate 2014 New Years on December 31, 2013 in Surabaya, Indonesia. A wave of pyrotechnic displays kicked off New Year celebrations in major cities around the world. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)
Fireworks light up the sky as thousands of people gather to watch, in the main business district on New Year's Eve in Jakarta, Indonesia, late Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
Fireworks explode near Malaysia's landmark Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur during the New Year 2014 celebrations on January 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO / STRINGER (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks explode at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor during New Year's Eve to celebrate the start of 2014 in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014 (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Fireworks explode at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre over the Victoria Harbor during New Year's Eve to celebrate the start of 2014 in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014 (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
A fireworks display is set off from the Taipei101 skyscraper during New Year's Eve celebrations in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Fireworks light up the sky as Filipinos welcome the New Year Wednesday Jan. 1, 2014, in Manila, Philippines. Traditionally, Filipinos welcome the New Year with fireworks and firecrackers and making the loudest noise possible, including indiscriminate firing of their guns which sometimes result in injuries and deaths. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
Revelers watch a fireworks display launched from the Taipei101 skyscraper during New Year's Eve celebrations in Taipei, Taiwan, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Laser lights shoot from towers during a New Year's Eve count down to 2014 held at the Great Wall of China in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Visitors pose for photos with model snow men after the end of a New Year's Eve count down to 2014 in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
People dressed in traditional costumes play drums during a performance to celebrate the new year at the Great wall in Beijing on December 31,2013. Hundreds of people gathered at the Great Wall, a landmark place in Beijing, to celebrate the New Year. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
Performers gather for a group photo after the end of a New Year's Eve count down to 2014 in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Revellers celebrate the new year following a countdown event at the Great Wall in Beijing on January 1, 2014. Hundreds of people gathered at the Great Wall, a landmark place in Beijing, to celebrate the New Year. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
A reveller takes part in festivities during a New Year countdown event at the Great Wall in Beijing on December 31, 2013. Hundreds of people gathered at the Great Wall, a landmark place in Beijing, to celebrate the New Year. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
People celebrate the new year during a 2014 New Year's countdown party in Yangon, Myanmar, on January 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO / YE AUNG THU (Photo credit should read Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks explode from the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, in Dubai on January 1, 2014 to celebrate the new year. Dubai kicked off New Year with a dazzling bid for a new world record to cap those the Gulf city state already holds for its mammoth property developments. The glittering fireworks display that lasted around six minutes spanned over 100 kilometres (60 miles) of the Dubai coast, which boasts an archipelago of man-made islands and Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower. AFP PHOTO / STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks explode over Palm Jumeirah in Dubai on January 1, 2014 to celebrate the new year. Dubai kicked off New Year with a dazzling bid for a new world record to cap those the Gulf city state already holds for its mammoth property developments. The glittering fireworks display that lasted around six minutes spanned over 100 kilometres (60 miles) of the Dubai coast, which boasts an archipelago of man-made islands and Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks explode from the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower, in Dubai on January 1, 2014 to celebrate the new year. Dubai kicked off New Year with a dazzling bid for a new world record to cap those the Gulf city state already holds for its mammoth property developments. The glittering fireworks display that lasted around six minutes spanned over 100 kilometres (60 miles) of the Dubai coast, which boasts an archipelago of man-made islands and Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower. AFP PHOTO / STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks explode over Palm Jumeirah in Dubai on January 1, 2014 to celebrate the new year. Dubai kicked off New Year with a dazzling bid for a new world record to cap those the Gulf city state already holds for its mammoth property developments. The glittering fireworks display that lasted around six minutes spanned over 100 kilometres (60 miles) of the Dubai coast, which boasts an archipelago of man-made islands and Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks explode from the Burj Khalifa, world's tallest building, at midnight to celebrate the New Year, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
People gather to celebrate the New Year on the Red Square in front of Kremlin in Moscow, early on January 1, 2014. Tens of thousands of people gathered on the Red Square to celebrate the New Year at midnight. AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOV (Photo credit should read VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks errupt from the Burj Khalifa, world's tallest building, at midnight to celebrate the New Year, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
Fireworks explode over the ancient Parthenon temple at the Acropolis Hill during the New Year's Eve celebrations in Athens, on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Fireworks explode over the ancient Parthenon temple at the Acropolis Hill during the New Year's Eve celebrationsin Athens, on Wednesday,Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Fireworks explode over of Berlin's landmark the Brandenburg Gate, where one of the country's biggest New Year's parties was celebrated on January 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks explode over of Berlin's landmark the Brandenburg Gate, where one of the country's biggest New Year's parties was celebrated on January 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO / JOHN MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
People gather in Puerta del Sol in Madrid, on January 01, 2014, during New Year celebrations. AFP PHOTO / GERARD JULIEN (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks light the sky above the Cathedral Square in Vilnius, Lithuania shortly after midnight during the New Year's Eve celebrations, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. Thousands of people celebrated the beginning of the New Year 2014 in the Lithuanian capital. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
People cheer infront of Rome's ancient Colosseum to celebrate the new year on January 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Filippo MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
Revellers celebrate the New Year's Eve on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, Wednesday Jan. 1, 2014. The Arc de Triomphe stands in the background.(AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
Revellers celebrate the New Year's Eve on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, France, Wednesday Jan. 1, 2014.(AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)
People celebrate the New Year on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on early January 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO / PIERRE ANDRIEU (Photo credit should read PIERRE ANDRIEU/AFP/Getty Images)
People gather during the New Year's Eve celebration in the Old Town in Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Fireworks light up the London skyline and Big Ben just after midnight on January 1, 2014 in London, England. Thousands of people lined the banks of the River Thames in central London to see in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Fireworks light up the London skyline and Big Ben just after midnight on January 1, 2014 in London, England. Thousands of people lined the banks of the River Thames in central London to see in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Fireworks streak around the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye during the New Year celebrations in central London just after midnight on January 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 31: Crowds gather to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Embankment on December 31, 2013 in London, England. Thousands of people are waiting on the banks of the River Thames in central London to ring in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Fireworks light up the London skyline and Big Ben just after midnight on January 1, 2014 in London, England. Thousands of people lined the banks of the River Thames in central London to see in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Fireworks light the sky above the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament over the river Thames during the New Year celebrations in central London just after midnight on January 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks explode around the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament during the New Year celebrations in central London just after midnight on January 1, 2014. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
Fireworks light the sky over Copacabana beach during New Year's Eve celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)
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Seacrest auditioned for the late Clark a little more than a decade ago, and has been a key part of the annual event ever since. For many of those years, the two hosted the countdown spectacle together, with Seacrest also serving as an executive producer. "Being in Times Square on New Year¹s remains one of my favorite moments of the year — it's live, it¹s loud, exhilarating and sentimental -— all at the same time," noted Seacrest. "We've managed to create an entertaining five-hour spectacle that involves a lot of spontaneity from the huge crowd, as well as stellar performances from the biggest music stars of the year. Bringing all of this to millions of Americans' living rooms is a privilege, and I'll never take that for granted."

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