Ryan Seacrest back as host of ‘Idol’ when it returns on ABC

Kelly Ripa made the announcement on Thursday's "Live with Kelly and Ryan"

Ryan Seacrest arrives at Wango Tango at StubHub Center on Saturday, May 13, 2017, in Carson, Calif.
Ryan Seacrest arrives at Wango Tango at StubHub Center on Saturday, May 13, 2017, in Carson, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Seacrest in!

Ryan Seacrest will be back hosting “American Idol” when it returns for its first season on ABC. Kelly Ripa made the announcement on Thursday’s “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” which she has co-hosted with Seacrest since he joined her in May.

Seacrest has a long history with “Idol” during its smash-hit run on Fox from 2002 through 2016. Reclaiming that job gives him an additional role in the Disney family, which owns ABC and produces the syndicated “Live.”

Seacrest’s potential return to “Idol” had sparked much speculation since ABC said it would revive the talent competition, even though the program airs from Los Angeles and “Live” airs weekday mornings from New York.

The busy Seacrest will also continue his syndicated Los Angeles morning drive-time radio show, as well as a nationally syndicated Top 40 radio show, from his iHeartMedia studio in the same Manhattan complex where “Live” is telecast. He also hosts and executive produces ABC’s annual “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.”

“It’s genuinely hard to put into words what ‘American Idol’ means to me,” Seacrest said in a statement. “To be asked to return this year, at my new home at Disney/ABC, is an honor, if not a bit surreal.”

ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey called Seacrest’s talent “limitless, and I can’t think of a more appropriate person to honor the ‘Idol’ legacy as it takes on new life than the man who has been there through it all.”

The nationwide search for the first ABC-aired superstar begins next month. The show will return to the air in 2018.