Nigel Lythgoe I'll Pay Ryan Seacrest's Salary!

1/19/2012 6:00 AM PST

Nigel Lythgoe -- I'll Pay Ryan Seacrest's Salary For 'American Idol'

Ryan Seacrest
should fear not if producers cut his "American Idol" salary for next season, because we've learned Nigel Lythgoe has vowed to make up the difference ... out of his own pocket.

There have been a few reports that producers may try to cut Ryan's paycheck -- estimated at $15 million for this season. Nigel is telling people Ryan is "extremely important" to the show and doesn't know how it could work as well without him.

Nigel says if production starts slashing, he'll start cashing to keep R.S. on board.