By Lynette Rice
Updated December 08, 2011 at 04:48 PM EST

Ryan Seacrest, OUT — to Today? The American Idol host is reportedly in talks to replace Matt Lauer on NBC’s morning show, should Matt Lauer opt to leave after his contract expires next year.

NBC suits began preliminary talks with Seacrest on Tuesday about joining the show, the Wall Street Journal reports. The celebrity entrepreneur — who also hosts a daily show for E! — is NBC’s top pick to replace Lauer, who began tipping off his bosses this year that he wants to leave by December 2012. At the time, a Today spokesperson said “there seems to be an awful lot of speculation around news anchors these days, and it’s not our practice to comment on any of it. Matt Lauer has a long term contract with NBC News and Today.”

Lauer has co-anchored the morning show since 1997. He began with Katie Couric and now sits opposite Ann Curry, who took over for Meredith Vieira. NBC is staying mum about the latest developments.

Seacrest, meanwhile, begins hosting the next season of Idol on Jan. 22.