Ryan Seacrest is reportedly set to return as host for American Idol's third season on ABC. According to sources who spoke to TMZ, Seacrest, who was left out of Disney's press release announcing the new season, is currently in the midst of a "massive" new deal that encompasses American Idol and Live with Kelly and Ryan as well as a production deal for several new TV shows.
Seacrest had previously landed a deal with Disney for around $15 million, but the deal currently in the works is expected to be much larger. It is believed that Disney will officially announce his return sometime soon.
The news comes just a day after ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke addressed rumors that Seacrest was tapping out of the beloved singing competition.
"I do not believe that he will not be [a part of Idol]. We are in ongoing discussions with Ryan about returning, and I'm hopeful that he will," Burke said Monday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour, according to Entertainment Tonight.
Seacrest has served as host since the singing competition's inaugural season back in 2002. After going off air on Fox and being reprised on ABC, Seacrest once again returned to host. Following the series' second season on the alphabet network, he had told ET his "plan is to be back next year" and that "I can't imagine not doing this show."
Should Seacrest reprise his hosting position, he will join returning judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie. Bobby Bones is also set to return as the show's in-house mentor.
"American Idol is the original music competition series," ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke said in a statement. "It was the first of its kind to take everyday singers and catapult them into superstardom, launching the careers of so many amazing artists. We couldn't be more excited for Katy, Luke, Lionel and Bobby to continue in their roles as American Idol searches for the next great music star, with more live episodes and exciting, new creative elements coming this season."
ABC picked up Idol for a third season, its 18th overall, back in May just ahead of the Season 2 finale.
Season 3 of American Idol is expected to premiere sometime in early 2020. Auditions for the season have already taken place in New York City. Additional auditions will be held at a number of other cities beginning with Mobile, Alabama on Aug. 20.