The Story Behind Ryan Seacrest’s Famous ‘Seacrest Out’ Signoff On American Idol

The Story Behind Ryan Seacrest’s Famous ‘Seacrest Out’ Signoff On American Idol

The best radio and TV hosts often have memorable signoffs that become an important part of their brand. Think “Good night, and good luck” from Edward R. Murrow or Bob Barker’s plight to control the pet population by imploring folks to have their pets spayed or neutered. If a good signoff is one of the marks of a good host, then Ryan Seacrest can count himself among them — and rightly so, with a full career of hosting gigs — as he boasts a pretty popular catchphrase in “Seacrest out!” So how exactly did the American Idol host land on the snappy soundbite?

Ryan Seacrest is known for his hustle, and by the time he landed the hosting gig of American Idol in its premiere season on Fox in 2002, he had already taken on quite a few smaller hosting jobs, including ESPN’s Radical Outdoor Challenge and an American Gladiators spinoff, Gladiators 2000. Seacrest spoke about his early days on the singing competition — which he continues to host in its rebooted format on ABC — in an interview with Willie Geist on Sunday TODAY, and he recalled the origin story of “Seacrest out!” In his words: 

One of the nights there were some more things for me to say, but I couldn’t get it in in time before the show was gonna end, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, I just went, ‘Seacrest out!’ before we got cut off by the local news, and I think it stuck.

Some people spend lots of time and brain power coming up with the perfect sendoff. Should your goodbye include a pun? Your name? The show’s name? Words of wisdom? Ryan Seacrest didn’t have time for all that. Even back then he knew he couldn’t just allow himself to be cut off mid-sentence when the broadcast switched over to the local news, nor could he let the audience go without parting words of some sort. His radio training must have kicked in, because he spit out the perfect phrase that could be shouted in a split second and also reminded the audience of who he was.

It definitely did stick, too, and now it’s a phrase that Ryan Seacrest couldn’t get away from if he wanted to. He told the Sunday TODAY host that now people have adapted the phrase to announce his presence, saying: 

Now they go, ‘Seacrest in!’ when I come into a restaurant — ‘Seacrest in!’

There were certainly plenty of “Seacrest out!” headlines in February, when he announced that he was leaving Live with Kelly and Ryan in order to curb his hectic work schedule and focus on his jobs on the West Coast. Those reports came just months ahead of the huge “Seacrest in!” announcement that Ryan Seacrest would be the new host of Wheel of Fortune after Pat Sajak retires at the end of the current season.

We’ll have to see if Ryan Seacrest brings a new signoff to America’s favorite game show when he makes his debut in September 2024, but either way it seems like it’ll be hard for him to ever shake “Seacrest out.”