Seacrest – who has an estimated net worth of $125 million, according to Forbes – has noted that Clark was an early inspiration. Seacrest tweeted his tribute on hearing news of Clark's death: "I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark. He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life."
And Wednesday night, he opened "American Idol" by acknowledging that "without Dick, a show like this would not exist."
Without Clark, Seacrest's career might not exist either. The "Idol" host told the Los Angeles Times, "I idolized him from the start, and I was graced early on in my career with his generous advice and counsel."
Inspired to go beyond his DJ roots, Seacrest received perhaps the most valuable guidance of all: "I believe a stake in ownership is important to have," Clark told him.
So when Seacrest took over L.A. radio station KIIS-FM's morning show, known as "On Air With Ryan Seacrest," he negotiated a piece of the ownership for the television rights. Seacrest later explained, "So maybe in 20 years it will still be called 'On Air,' with someone else hosting the show, but I can still produce it. Because, let's be honest, you don't know how long people are going to let you into their homes."
Owning a piece of the action has made Seacrest a power player in Hollywood well beyond his hosting duties on TV and radio. As the producer for the Kardashian reality soaps, "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution," and even the Bravo show "The Shahs of Sunset," which was recently renewed, it's clear Clark's advice has stuck with him. Earlier this year he topped the Hollywood Reporter's "Reality Power List."
In 2006 he earned a different sort of honor when he was chosen to guest host "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" – a role he's continued to fill ever since. Seacrest told the Washington Post, "It was a dream come true to work with him every New Year's Eve for the last six years. He was smart, charming, funny and always a true gentleman. I learned a great deal from him, and I'll always be indebted to him for his faith and support of me." Seacrest added, "He was a remarkable host and businessman and left a rich legacy to television audiences around the world."
And a legacy that helped make Seacrest a very wealthy man.