War of the Go-To Guys:
Ryan Seacrest vs. Carson Daly
by Steve Ryfle
It takes a special talent to remain cool, calm and collected on camera while throngs of teenage girls are screaming their heads off and going completely gaga over pop music's latest flavor of the moment. Dick Clark knew the secret: his blend of attractiveness and blandness, of middle-of-the-road appeal and a dash of hipness, made him a TV icon for half a century.
Ryan Seacrest and Carson Daly are the heirs apparent to Dick's vacated throne. They're not exactly cool, but they have cool jobs. These guys are money--they're corporate brand names unto themselves, famous for being mega-famous. So, the question now is: which man is the new king of TV youth culture? From "TRL" to "American Idol" to New Year's Eve, Seacrest and Daly are locked in a battle for soul (or the ratings, at least) of the iPod generation. Who'll be the last host standing?
Pix of Carson
Real Name: Ryan John Seacrest
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Birth date: December 24, 1974
| ||Carson Daly|
Real Name: Carson Jones Daly
Hometown: Santa Monica, CA
Birth date: June 22, 1973
|Beginnings: Always wanted to be on the air. As a kid, he would read the daily announcements on his high school's public-address system, pretending it was his own radio program. At 16, he convinced a local radio station to give him a paying job. || ||Beginnings: In his youth, Daly had dreams of PGA cards and 18 holes of glory. He was one of the top ranked young golfers in the country. Played on his high school golf team with classmate Tiger Woods.|
| Family: Son of Gary and Connie Seacrest. Has a sister named Meredith. || |
Family: His mom, Pattie Daly Caruso, hosts a talk show on a local TV station in Palm Springs, CA. His dad died when Daly was just six, and he was raised by stepfather Richard Caruso, who owns a pro golf shop.
|Education: Majored in journalism at the University of Georgia.|| ||Education: Studied theology at Loyola Marymount University on a golf scholarship and briefly considered a life of the cloth, but quit school after his freshman year to hit the links as a pro. Ultimately, it didn't work out as he'd planned. |
|Big break: During his freshman college year, he became host of an ESPN show, "Radical Outdoor Challenge." He soon moved to Los Angeles and hosted an afternoon radio show for six years, meanwhile hosting various TV series and one-shots such as "Gladiators 2000" and "Wild Animal Games." || ||Big break: While working on his golfing, Daly took an internship at a Palm Springs radio station. That led to radio jobs in San Diego, San Jose and finally a stint at L.A.'s famous KROQ, where MTV took notice and offered him a job.|
|Workload: Seacrest has become a one-man showbiz entity, especially since becoming host of "American Idol" in 2002. He's the morning host at a major Los Angeles radio station, he succeeded Casey Kasem as host of the nationally syndicated "American Top 40," he did ads for AT&T, and hosted various awards shows and benefits. Not bad for a guy who only recently turned 30. || ||Workload: His main gig these days is "Last Call with Carson Daly," his wee-hours celebrity talk show on NBC. He's probably in line to succeed Conan or Dave someday, but not necessarily next in line. He's got his own production company, a nationally syndicated radio show, "Carson Daly Most Requested."|
|High point: Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005. The accolade was presented to him by Larry King.|| ||High point: His TRL days (1998-2003) remain the apex of his pop-culture trajectory. Every day, hundreds of fanatical teenage girls lined up outside MTV's New York studio to pay homage to Daly and his musical guests. Can a network talk show and life as a media magnate top that? No way.|
|Low point: You can't win 'em all. Seacrest's daytime celebrity talk show, "On-Air with Ryan Seacrest," premiered in 2004 and was canceled due to poor ratings. || ||Low point: According to the insightful folks at Jump the Shark (www.jumptheshark.com), "Last Call with Carson Daly" wore out its welcome from the very first episode. "This is the first show to jump the shark before even being aired. It jumped at the moment the contract was signed," they wrote.|
|Chick magnet: Has been linked to Shana Wall, a backup singer for Luis Miguel, and Playboy Playmate Brande Roderick.|| ||Chick magnet: Being MTV's premiere veejay has its perks. From 1997-99, Daly dated Jennifer Love Hewitt, who dumped him by telling her publicist (Daly heard it on the radio rather than from Hewitt herself). In 2000, he met actress Tara Reid in Cancun while filming "MTV's Spring Break." The affair lasted a year.|
|Fashion sense: Bed head. Sleek-fitting suits. Shirt tucked in. He's a self-proclaimed metrosexual, which he defines as a "heterosexual male who perhaps cares about his presentation, maybe likes to go shopping and put on a nice shirt, perhaps takes care of his body, wants to work out and be healthy." Naturally, he's got his own clothing line. || ||Fashion sense: Not his strong suit. One internet bashes Daly as "a 30-year-old man trying to dress like a teenager, a receding hairline being poorly masked, that ill-conceived moustache he often tries to sport, the way his chest hair creeps over the collar of his shirt, or his uncanny inability to adapt to a guest (wearing black nail polish when Korn visited, saying 'yo' and 'dawg' when Eminem was around)." Yikes!|
|Rumors: Simon Cowell likes poking fun at Seacrest's grooming habits, sparking tabloid innuendo about his sexual orientation. The tabs also say he's injected Botox into his face (he denies it). || ||Rumors: No one's questioning his manhood, but the tabloids tattled on him, implying that he cheated on Tara Reid while the two were engaged. And don't forget that Eminem song that implied, um, inappropriate behavior between Daly and Christina Aguilera.|
|Resolutions: He was already gunning for Dick Clark's job last year, hosting his own live New Year's broadcast on Fox. Now he's made a deal to take over the hosting chores on "New Year's Rockin' Eve" when the "American Bandstand" guy finally retires. || ||Resolutions: Went head-to-head with Seacrest last year, standing outside Rockefeller Center in the bitter cold to greet the new year on the creatively titled "Carson Daly's New Year's Eve" on NBC.|
|Quotable: "It's surreal, because as a kid I always wanted to be both a big radio personality and also host a television show that people actually watch. Now I'm getting to do both." || ||Quotable: "I had such strong faith that I thought I could take an oath of poverty and celibacy and feed and bathe old people. But then I realized that I didn't necessarily need to do that. I could apply the morals and ethics I'd learned to the secular world. So here I am, thrust into Satan's den, if you wanna call it that--and I love being here."|Syndicated Columnists
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