Before there was Ryan Seacrest, there was Dick Clark.
Today, we marvel at Seacrest’s ability to host “American Idol” while also launching “the ESPN of pop culture” network with Mark Cuban, anchoring E! News, producing all those Kardashian docu-soaps for E! and the just-renewed “Shahs of Sunset” for Bravo, debuting as the newest member of the NBC “family” (and presumed heir to “Today” show) at the Summer Olympics in London — all while hosting his daily and weekly syndicated radio shows for Clear Channel.
Seacrest is just taking a page from Dick Clark playbook.
Clark died Wednesday at age 82, after suffering a massive heart attack.
“We can’t begin tonight’s show without acknowledging the passing of a television pioneer, and my dear friend, Dick Clark,” Seacrest said at the top of Wednesday night’s “American Idol.”
“Without Dick, a show like this would not exist.”
In 1980 Variety marveled, in a piece on Dick Clark, that “The self-styled ‘voracious appetite’ of Dick Clark for activity has the indie producer moving into every tv daypart.”
Here are a few of Clark’s television accomplishments:
— His “Bandstand” will forever hold the record as the longest running musical variety show in TV history, unless you think “American Idol’s” going to make it to 37 years, because we know “The Voice” isn’t and we have our doubts about “The X Factor.”
“Bandstand” started as a local show in Philly” before ABC took it national. Within a few years, Clark had a couple of ABC spinoffs. Years later, he exec produced a ‘60s-set primetime homage to “Bandstand,” about a wide-eyed teen girl who dreams of becoming a ”Bandstsand” regular; in the pilot episode, a young Clark was seen with the very young Beach Boys.
In the 60’s, when he moved “Bandstand” to Los Angeles, Clark created Dick Clark Productions.
He became the go-to show host, with credits that included “The $10,000 Pyramid” (later, due to inflation, upped to “$100,000 Pyramid”), the “TV Bloopers and Practical Jokes” franchise, and the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. In 2001 he was asked to join the guy-gaggle on a syndicated answer to ABC’s daytime talker, “The View,” joining Mario Lopez and Danny Bonaduce.
Clark was the king of trophy shows, creating “The American Music Awards.” His DCP began producing “The Golden Globe Awards” in 1983, and also produced “The Academy of Country Music Awards” for decades.
Clark is the face of New Year’s Eve. He hosted “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” show from Times Square starting in 1972. He missed the ‘04 broadcast after suffering a stroke, and when he returned the next year 20 million people tuned in to see his return.
Ryan Seacrest joined Clark on that telecast, as co-host.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear friend Dick Clark,” Seacrest said Wednesday in a statement.
“He has truly been one of the greatest influences in my life. I idolized him from the start... 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.
“He was a remarkable host and businessman and left a rich legacy to television audiences around the world. We will all miss him.”