Could dumping Ryan Seacrest help "American Idol" saggy ratings?

That’s what the folks at Fox may be wondering, a source close to the show told the Scoop this week.

Seems studio-sponsored audience surveys are also asking questions about Seacrest and his interaction between the contestants and the judges.

Sophie_monkWhile all of the main players were included in the question, “How important are each of the following people to your overall enjoyment of ‘American Idol’?” the survey also asks participants to weigh in on two extra statements: “I like the interaction between Ryan and the contestants” and  “I like the interaction between the judges and Ryan.”

Hmmm. Wonder what the answers were?

Is this why Ryan has been so busy off "AI," hosting the Super Bowl pre-game show, the 2007 Emmys, covering the 2008 Oscar red carpet for E!, picking up a reality TV award at the 2008 Kids’ Choice Awards show as well as producing Denise Richard’s new reality series?

Just saying. Maybe that’s why the hardest-working man in show business has been working extra hard lately.

He’s so darn busy it’s a miracle he’s managed to stay in touch with (Seacrest’s so smitten, he constantly texts her) his new squeeze, Sophie Monk, who’s been really busy herself, shooting "Hard Breakers."

Top photo: Jordin Sparks has such fond memories of Ryan, she posed backstage with him at the Kids Choice Awards.

Bottom photo: And check out the legs on Ryan’s new squeeze, Sophie Monk!

Posted by:Elizabeth Snead