Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for ATI

Dick Clark paved the way for broadcasters including Ryan Seacrest, and on Wednesday's American Idol, Seacrest honored the late TV icon he was fortunate to call a "dear friend."

Paying tribute to Clark just hours after the 82-year-old suffered a massive heart attack, Seacrest, 37, honored his New Year's Rockin' Eve colleague at the top of Idol's performance show.

"We can't begin tonight's show without acknowledging the passing of a TV pioneer and my dear friend Dick Clark," the solemn host said. "Without Dick a show like this would not exist. He will be missed greatly."

Giving his best to Clark's family -- including his three children and wife, Kari Wigton -- Seacrest said he believed the late producer was watching over him from above. "I know he's in a better place, saying 'Hey, let's get on with the show,'" Seacrest told the audience, before adding: 'You got it, boss.'"

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After Seacrest completed his hosting duties, he spoke more in-depth about the passing of his mentor.

"He taught me how to do television. I studied him as a kid and I had the fortunate opportunity to work with him for several years on New Year's Eve, so I'm sad and I'm grateful for what he's given all of us and certainly what he has given to me," Seacrest -- who took over hosting duties for New Year's Rockin' Eve after Clark suffered a stroke in 2004 -- told reporters after the show.

"It was a tough night at the beginning of the show, but we will miss him and there will be nobody like him," he continued.