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Seacrest was born in Atlanta's suburb of Dunwoody, Georgia, the son of Constance Marie and Gary Lee Seacrest, an attorney. After graduating from Dunwoody High School, Seacrest went on to attend the University of Georgia in the fall of 1993. There, he would host his first radio show at a local Athens station. Seacrest left UGA at age 19 and moved to Hollywood to continue his broadcasting career.
In the fall of 2000 Seacrest was the host of NBC Saturday Night at the Movies. In 2001, he hosted a reality television program, Ultimate Revenge, where elaborate practical jokes were played on family and friends instigated by their own relatives and friends. In 2002, Seacrest accepted the position as co-host of the hit reality TV series American Idol with comedian Brian Dunkleman. The following year, he became the sole host when Dunkleman left the show.
In January 2004, Seacrest became the new host of the radio program American Top 40, created and formerly hosted by Casey Kasem. In February 2004, Seacrest became host of On Air With Ryan Seacrest. In January 2006, U.S. cable channel E! announced a three-year, $21 million deal for Seacrest to host and produce various programs, including E! News and its red carpet awards show coverages.
In August 2008, ABC picked up the option in Seacrest's contract to extend him as co-host of New Year's Eve through 2010, ringing in 2011, also renaming the program 'Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest', to reflect Seacrest's success as co-host, said in a statement by Orly Adelson, president of Dick Clark Productions.