Ryan Seacrest Close to Finalizing Idol Return: ‘Who Am I If Not the American Idol Guy?’

As excitement builds over the impending American Idol revival, a big question remains — will Ryan Seacrest return to host?

Though there have been several back and forth negotiations between the TV personality — who hosted all 15 seasons of the original show when it was on Fox — and studio executives from ABC, which The Hollywood Reporter says are close to being finalized, one thing is clear: Seacrest’s appreciation for the hit reality singing competition.

“Who am I if not the American Idol guy?” Seacrest, 42, asks in the new profile.

“I’ve always loved the show,” he continued. “And if I could do it forever, I would do it forever.”

According to THR, those closest to Seacrest say that his identity is still tied to the show, and “the idea of being replaced would destroy him.” Already confirmed to judge the revival so far is Katy Perry.

When Idol came to a close on April 7, 2016, Seacrest was tearful during the season 15 finale as he said, “One more time, we say to you from Hollywood, good night America.” But many fans were left wondering about the fate of the show as he added, “For now.”

Seacrest made it clear, though, that his parting words were simply an expression of hope and appreciation for the show that he owes his career.

Idol was still firing on cylinders, even if it wasn’t all of the cylinders of its heyday, and it still had a fan base,” he said in the interview. “So, part of me, while not having had any real conversations about it, believed that somehow, somewhere, American Idol would come back.”

Idol was canceled by Fox in April 2016, and then after a multi-network bidding war, it was revived the following May by ABC — the same company he signed a deal to co-host alongside Kelly Ripa on the newly retitled Live with Kelly and Ryan.

“I’ve figured out what I’m better at and what I’m not so good at, and I’m doing the things that I’m better at,” he says over a month after taking on his hosting duties on Live. “The things that I’m not so good at would make me tired and would make me want to slow down.”

Adding Idol to Live, his daily radio show and a producing career would undoubtedly make Seacrest busier than ever, but when asked about it, he responded: “I know. I never thought that would be possible.”

“As for Ryan, his plate is obviously pretty full already — his priority is Live with Kelly and Ryan, he has big commitments to iHeartRadio daily and the syndicated radio show,” a source previously told PEOPLE. “That said, Ryan has a lot of affection for Idol given the significance to his career, and it taps into the things he loves — a live show, pop music, discovering new talent, etc.”

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