Ryan Seacrest is rumored to be a top choice to replace Matt Lauer on The Today Show, should Lauer one day go missing and no one can figure out where in the world he is. Or if he retires or moves on or whatever. Hm. Seacrest. Is he a good choice for this?
Sure he's got the TV hosting chops. Years of shepherding contestants through the American Idol thunderdome has made him a master at covering up awkward moments, extracting tears, and ginning up excitement. And that's a perfect talent for hosting something as kabuki as that talent show. But The Today Show is, despite all its Al Roker chuckling and Kathie Lee glugfesting, at least something of an actual news program. Sure Lauer has watched some puppy fashion shows in his time, but he's also interviewed politicians and had feisty exchanges with Scientologist celebrities. That is not the Seacrest way. And we don't think it ever will be.
There is something so stuck in time about Ryan Seacrest, the same as there was with his spirit animal Dick Clark. (Or is Seacrest Dick Clark's spirit animal? Are they each other's spirit animals? Or maybe they're patronuses. Whatever. You know what we mean.) Clark was/is as big a television personality as there's been since television personalities were invented, but he never moved out of the New Year's Rockin' Eve and American Bandstand funtimes realm. Seacrest seems destined, or at least ideal, for much the same fate. He'll do Idol and the consequence-free E! News broadcasts, he'll do his radio show, he'll do, well, New Year's Rockin' Eve. And as he should -- he's brilliant at it! But as silly as Today can be, it also occasionally calls for a little gravitas. Lauer was live on air for a long time the morning of 9/11 and handled it as best as a jarred morning show host could. Can anyone really imagine Ryan Seacrest doing the same thing? It would be like watching a monkey on rollerskates deliver a eulogy. Well, no. It would be something far less amazing than that. It would just be wrong, is what we're saying.
There's always the possibility that NBC has decided to embrace the popularity of their fourth hour, which is fully given over to the Dada stylings of Kathie Lee & Hoda. Maybe they want to make the rest of the broadcast equally as zany and fluffy. Again, we know that most of Today is fluff, but they do occasionally take a break for something heavier. CBS is going almost all heavy with their revamped morning show, so maybe NBC is running in the opposite direction, and thus Seacrest is an ideal choice. But if not, Ryan Seacrest seems to have drunk of the same Ever-Teen Elixir as Dick Clark, and that just doesn't work on the news. Katie Couric could be even more chipper than Seacrest, but she also had a serious streak in her. We've yet to see that in Ryan.
So for our money we say to NBC: Seacrest, out. Heh. Remember when he used to say that?