It may be hard to believe, but Ryan Seacrest, 46, is celebrating 30 years in radio this year, having made his on-air debut at 16 on Atlanta's WSTR-FM. With a resumé that reads like a hardcover book – including a current daily routine co-hosting TV's “Live With Kelly And Ryan” at 9am, followed immediately by the syndicated “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” live on iHeart CHR KIIS-FM Los Angeles' mornings, along with the weekly “American Top 40 With Ryan Seacrest” and hosting ABC-TV's “American Idol” six months out of each year – it may also be hard to believe Seacrest is talking about slowing down his breakneck pace.
“In my 30s, I missed Thanksgivings [and] I never was at Christmas because I was going to do something that I thought would be beneficial for my career,” Seacrest tells The Wall Street Journal in a just-released interview. “To say no to things is difficult. When I say no to something, I feel guilt in terms of an obligation.”
But the hardest-working person in broadcasting is actually starting to say no, beginning with his announcement earlier this year that he would no longer work E!'s red carpet for January's Golden Globe awards. Although Seacrest's Executive Producer duties for E!'s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and its seven spin-offs ended last June, he remains involved with the Kardashian clan's new Hulu franchise, and with his Ryan Seacrest Foundation which builds broadcast studios in pediatric hospitals.
For Seacrest, the turning point occurred back in May while during a live “Idol” taping, he appeared to have trouble reading the prompter, his voice slurred and his right eye drooped. After a no-show on “Live With Kelly And Ryan” the following morning, social media was set abuzz wondering if he'd suffered a stroke. While his reps denied it and Seacrest refuses to address it, he tells the Journal that's when he knew that “I definitely needed to slow down. I just had burnt myself out. I was absolutely beat and fatigued and just wasn’t letting myself accept that. Now I do.”
Following a doctor's recommendation to “do less,” Seacrest appears to be on that path, with a focus on more leisurely weekend activities such as taking cooking courses at the Culinary Institute of America and planting olive trees at his Napa Valley property, along with talk of settling down. “I start thinking about blocking off certain times in my month or year or week to focus on my personal life,” he says. “In the last year it’s become clear to me that I do want to have kids, to be available and present.”
Those who work with him – like Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO at iHeartMedia, which in September inked a new deal with Seacrest to keep his radio shows going until the end of 2025 – may have difficulty imagining a Seacrest slowdown. “I think working is his hobby,” Pittman says. “With Ryan, it is not work-life balance, it’s work-life integration.” Baby steps, Seacrest tells the Journal. “I think there will be a time where I will not have to check with my office to see if I can have dinner on a Saturday,” he says. “That’s always in my head.”