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Ryan Seacrest and the legacy of Dick Clark

David Brancaccio Apr 19, 2012

David Brancaccio: As you’ve been hearing, American Bandstand legend Dick Clark has died — a heart attack at 82. His knack for spotting an emerging star is getting much attention today, but he was a very effective entrepreneur — turning his public persona into a publicly traded company, Dick Clark Productions, that amassed a fortune.

Jocelyn Vena of MTV News is here with more. Morning, Jocelyn.

Jocelyn Vena: Hi there, how are you?

Brancaccio: I’m OK. Dick Clark known as really a legendary entertainer — but he’s arguably an even more successful businessman.

Vena: Yeah, I mean, he behind the scenes helped launch just as many television shows and careers as he did in front of the camera. It’s kind of revolutionary, what he did, as somebody who really had the foresight to know what was happening in pop culture and put it out there in the world kind of unapologetically.

Brancaccio: Now, there’s a gentleman by the name of Ryan Seacrest, who is essentially following — in a sense — in Dick Clark’s footsteps. Is he, do you think, trying to carve out for himself a Dick Clark-like trajectory?

Vena: I don’t think it’s even carved out; I think he was sort of anointed by Dick Clark to take over this amazing, amazing empire that he put out into the world.

Brancaccio: How does the model work, that maybe Ryan Seacrest is following — it’s not just that he’s annointed, he’s also figured out a way to be a lot more than a DJ. It’s something about multi-media probably.

Vena: Yeah, and I think even in today’s world, it’s even easier to kind of be a Dick Clark or a Ryan Seacrest, where there’s radio, there’s the Internet, there’s television. And at this point, for Ryan Seacrest, it’s like a dream situation that he can host a radio show, host American Idol, be on E! News, and have it all kind of work together, because that’s how you have to do it now. And I think that Dick Clark, forged the ground and laid the foundation for that kind of thing.

Brancaccio: Jocelyn Vena, MTV News. Thank you very much.

Vena: Thank you.

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