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Once upon a time media personalities enjoyed ratings shares that are unheard of today: people like Ed Sullivan, Perry Como, and Johnny Carson in his prime could count on something like 1/3 of the country tuning in to see them every time they did a show. As media fragmented, many predicted that the age of the mega-celebrity would end, to be replaced by a long tail of niche celebrities.
It hasn't quite worked out that way. There are plenty of niche celebrities, but the mega-celebrity has not gone away. In his unassuming way, Ryan Seacrest is one of them. Through his various television, radio, and digital projects, he gets more regular face time with more Americans than any other person, with one possible exception.
And no one does a better job monetizing celebrity than Seacrest. Unlike many of his mass media peers, he recognizes that he is, at the end of the day, in the advertising business. His job is to generate advertising return on investment for marketers by aggregating audiences and associating his personal brand with the brands of others.