Tuning in to TV

Ryan Seacrest’s return as ‘Idol’ host up in the air

Both Fox and Ryan Seacrest say they want Mr. Seacrest to stay as host of “American Idol” after this year. Whether that will happen was unclear Sunday even as both sides promoted this month’s launch of the 11th season of the country’s most popular television show.

“It’s a tough negotiation and one that will come to conclusion, I think, pretty quickly,” Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly said.

According to the Associated Press, Mr. Seacrest is not signed beyond this season and also is involved in talks with corporate owners of NBC Universal, where he has a contract at E! Entertainment. There have been several reports that NBC is considering Mr. Seacrest as a potential replacement if Matt Lauer decides to leave the “Today” show.

Mr. Seacrest had little to say Sunday about the possibility of moving into a new morning job.

While such talk is “flattering,” he said, “that job will be that person’s job as long as that person wants the job.”

“American Idol” continues to be a TV steamroller. Yet network TV is in tough economic straits, and many millions of dollars are tied up in contracts with Mr. Seacrest and judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson.

As for Mr. Seacrest’s contractual status, the key word Sunday was “imagine.”

“It’s very hard to imagine the show without Ryan,” Mr. Reilly said. “We certainly want to keep him. There’s no creative discussion there whatsoever. It is a deal issue.”

Said Mr. Seacrest: “I’ve done this for the last decade. I love doing it, so I can’t imagine not being on every week.”

“American Idol” returns on Jan. 18.

Keith Olbermann to run Current TV election coverage

Despite his absence from early primary coverage, Current TV’s Keith Olbermann will soon be part of the act.

In a tweet posted Sunday, the volatile anchor of the “Countdown” show said he would be “running the election coverage of Current” after Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary, according to the Associated Press. On Monday, a Current representative confirmed Mr. Olbermann would host future coverage.

Mr. Olbermann was missing from last week’s coverage of the Iowa caucuses. This led to reports of a feud between Mr. Olbermann and the network, where he has been an executive and star for less than a year.

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