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First Mover: Ryan Seacrest

The TV host keeps growing his reach, regardless of what the doctor says

Photo: Elizabeth Lippman


Specs
Age
38
New gig Founder of Seacrest Global Group, majority owner of events marketing agency Civic Entertainment Group
Continuing gig Host of American Idol

In addition to hosting American Idol, doing a radio show and other jobs, you just invested in a marketing agency, Civic Entertainment Group. So when do you sleep?
[Laughs] Good question. Not much. Usually between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., and right now I’m speaking to you from one my offices known as a vehicle, a car where I’ve set up my mobile workspace here in the back.

What’s your mobile work space?
It consists of a screening screen so I can screen edits of shows that we shoot, and a whole bunch of papers that tell me where I need to be, what I need to be doing and who I need to be meeting, all spread out in the seat next to me.

Why buy a marketing agency?
Civic had already built an incredible marketing service business with some of the people they’ve worked with at HBO, CNN, A&E. I was impressed with the type of work they’d done for their partners as well as something they’d done for NBC called Education Nation. One of our goals within my company has always been to connect brands and consumers and brands and audiences. And I thought that this would be a way to help build on what they’ve already created by infusing some of the access that we have to brands that we’ve worked with for a long time, as well as the access that we have to content that we’re creating. I strongly believe in this type of creative marketing and slightly unconventional marketing as the media landscape has changed over the years. There’s so much saturation, and these types of experiential marketing events are more and more important. Since we’ve invested with them, we’ve had several meetings with Fox and are going to do some work for them on American Idol.

Historically, your credentials are in unscripted programming. How’s the push into scripted going?
I have a very good team of development execs that are trying to come up with both unscripted and scripted ideas formats. We just sent some of our team overseas to look at different things that are happening there, and also to sell some of our ideas in the U.K. Our goal is to expand internationally, more so than we have. We’ve sold two movies that are in development, at two different studios. One is at Universal. One is at Paramount. We have sold a scripted show to the E! network, which is still in development. We have sold one to FX.

What are you going to buy next?
We recently made an investment in Pinterest that we’re really excited about. We have looked at another company that would complement the work that Civic does on a global scale.

You were great in Knocked Up, way back when. Any plans to do more acting?
[Laughs] It’s always fun to step into a role like that, where Judd Apatow was extremely generous in letting me come have fun and let the wheels fall off of that situation and get to do something I would never get to do on broadcast TV. But it’s not necessarily on my agenda to become an actor because I just don’t think I’m good at it. I mean, I can’t memorize lines. … Maybe my biggest issue is I can’t memorize a script, so I’m much better at making it up as I go.

Your doctor tells you you’re running yourself into the ground, you absolutely have to drop one of your jobs … which goes? I’d fire the doctor. I’d go get a second opinion.

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