Gary Susman
June 02, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”American Juniors,” the prepubescent version of ”American Idol,” premieres Tuesday, so it’s good that producers finally picked a host. They didn’t have to look far: It’s ”Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. Of course, he won’t be trading gay innuendo with Simon Cowell this time; the judges haven’t been named, but Cowell is not expected to be one of them. (Give the kids a break — they’re all under the age of 13.)

Fox Broadcasting president Gail Berman praised Seacrest as the ”face of ‘American Idol,”’ saying in a statement, ”Ryan Seacrest has proven time and again that he is one of the premier hosts in variety television.” Also one of the busiest; he has an afternoon radio show every weekday, and he’s currently developing a daytime TV talk show that will debut in January. Plus, there’ll be a second season of ”Juniors” this fall, before the grown-up ”Idol” resumes in January.

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