50 Shades Of Grey is Ryan Seacrest’s new obsession. “I’m obsessed. I’m past the bathtub scene, so I’m making progress,” he told Access Hollywood‘s Jill Martin ahead of the E! upfronts in New York City on Monday, referring to his spot in the novel. “It’s fascinating to see something like that capture the zeitgeist and also it’s really interesting to read.

“And I’m using it as a manual,” the Idol host said. “I think it can be a study book for a lot of people.” Ryan, who is dating former Dancing with the Stars pro Julianne Hough, now an actress, said the book comes in handy. “Parts of it can be a workbook,” he told a blushing Jill.

Ryan may be in good spirits now, but last week the “American Idol” host nearly didn’t make it to the big stage after getting ill. “I had a bug that got everything out of me — trust me — in the 24 hours… So I’m good,” Ryan said of how he is doing now. “An afternoon later, I was OK.” While Ryan made it to the Idol stage, he revealed that the show’s executive producer, Nigel Lythgoe, was ready to step in and assume his duties for the night.

“Nigel got a haircut, literally, as soon as he heard that I was sick,” Ryan said. “I don’t know if that’s a supportive friend. I have some friends in Hollywood, but that doesn’t say ‘supportive’ to me, that you’d go get your haircut, put on a suit — he put his silk handkerchief in. “I think he poisoned my chicken,” Ryan added, with a laugh.