RadarOnline.com can exclusively reveal that ABC is scrambling to downplay Ryan Seacrest’s role on the network’s revamped version of American Idol in the wake of his ongoing sexual harassment scandal.
“ABC is editing the first two episodes of Idol to focus less on Ryan and more on Katy Perry and the contestants,” a source told Radar of the singing competition, which is set to debut on its new network home March 11. (A source close to the show denied producers have edited any footage.)
A second source said execs are "freaking out" over how Seacrest's personal drama will affect ratings.
“American Idol producers are freaking out because they do not want people to tune out or boycott the show due to Ryan hosting,” the second insider explained of the chaos. “The problem is that he is already so ingrained in the show and it’s entire production."
As Radar reported, Seacrest, 43, has vehemently denied his former E! stylist’s claims that he sexually harassed her, including her allegations that he shoved her head into his crotch while she was tying his shoes.
Though Seacrest was recused of any wrongdoing by E! after the network carried out a thorough investigation into the claims, ABC remains concerned, the first source insisted.
Noted the source, “Producers are even discussing the nuclear option if the situation gets worst and they have to edit him out of the entire show.”
While a production insider insisted Seacrest will be filming as scheduled, tensions on and off the set are running high.
“Idol is a huge priority for ABC,” said the source. “This could be one of the biggest disasters in TV history — to say they are nervous is an understatement.”
Meanwhile, a former stage manager for the hit show has spoken out to defend Seacrest against the accusations.
"Never, never in all my 15 years with him, if you told me this story, would I believe you," Debbie Williams told TheWrap.
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