Q and A With… Ryan Seacrest 2009

The American Idol host and celeb wrangler shares his views on girls and Momma’s Boys.

You are exec-producing NBC’s new reality show, Momma’s Boys. How catty does it actually get between the moms and the girls on the show?

Well, I think that everybody showed up with a pretty open mind, and then once they got there, it didn’t take long for animal instincts to kick in! The mothers — who for the most part, were sweet and loving toward their sons — had good intentions, and then that clearly shifted once you got a chance to see them in this environment together. But, you know, these are moms who are clearly obsessed with control when it comes to their sons’ lives, and women certainly play a major part in that process for them. And so they did not hide their feelings once they got in the middle of all these girls.

And what about the guys? Are they really momma’s boys? How bad is it with these guys and their moms?

I don’t think the guys could exist without their mothers within 10 yards. The guys are great guys. I mean they’re handsome. They are focused guys. They’re driven guys. But they do have a crutch, and that is relying on their moms for laundry, for cooking, for room and board. But I think sometimes they wished that their moms weren’t watching over their shoulders — as they were getting into a hot tub with a girl, because the guys are certainly there to conduct themselves as their mothers wouldn’t want them to!

How did you come up with this idea??

Well, for me, I can relate to this concept because I’m pretty close to my mother. I don’t generally take her out on dates, but she sneaked into the basement a couple of times, certainly when I was a kid, to see if I was really watching a movie.

But, you know, I think it is important to have an open relationship with your mother, your father, whoever it is in your life. And I am really close to my mom. And she’s part of the decision-making process, whether it be personal or professional. I don’t put her in the passenger seat, though, when I’m out with a girl!

She’s gotten to be a better friend and a closer friend as I’ve gotten older, and that's been really great.

I know one of the contestants spent time in jail. Would you ever date an ex-con?

My mother lives next door to Akon, and he has an album called Convict, doesn’t he? I don’t think that would be something that she would be okay with! So the answer for me is probably no.

And on your other show, Fox’s American Idol, judge Simon Cowell is now single. Wouldn’t he be a perfect candidate for this show?

Actually, I’m a little bit worried about him. It’s a tough time for him right now, and so I’ve just been the shoulder to cry on. I’m a little concerned about him going into the holidays, since it is a tough time to be alone. I’m wondering how he’ll make it. So I don’t think he’d be ready for this quite yet.

What’s the universal emotion that people will connect with on this show?

It’s a good question. You know, I think that for any show, you want to start from that place. You know, what is the universal emotion? And of course, that is love. The real reason that these guys and moms came on was because they wanted to find a connection with somebody else. And it is out of — and for — love. And there are plenty of funny and intense moments along the way. But it truly is a loud love story—though it sounds corny to say that!

If your mother had her way, what type of girl would you be with?

One who was under her spell—and that she would have under her control! I tend to like girls who are a bit more, say, provocative than my mother would approve of. So she would definitely want the one who continues to go to church every Sunday. I might want the one who skips every Sunday!

And with such a busy schedule, how do you make time for dating??

I just watched the casting tapes for this show, and it kind of makes me feel like I’ve dated around! I don’t have that much time to do it. I try and schedule it, and if I have time, it’s usually on the weekend.

Contributing entertainment editor Susan L. Hornik is based in Los Angeles.
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