In true Top Model form Tyra didn’t mince words with her cast mates, only informing them that their contracts would not be renewed for the upcoming season. But who are they being replaced with? Well now that is where it gets interesting.
A show insider told The New York Post that the departures were a “production decision” and that there are “major changes planned for [season] 19.”
One of the people that is rumored to be joining the show is blogger, Bryan Boy. The show seems to be heading towards a younger direction along with web savvy people that have greater online presence. Bryan Boy for instance rose to fame after his blog garnered a following of massive proportions for his street-style photography which brought him to the attention of American Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
The axes have been falling for some time now at ANTM’s headquarters though. Page Six reported last September that Andre Leon Talley, who has been a judge on the show since Season 14, was being replaced by Kelly Cutrone, founder of public relations firm People’s Revolution.
Executive producer Ken Mok said in a statement: “Nigel Barker, Jay Manuel and J. Alexander have been an integral part of the ‘America’s Next Top Model’ brand and they helped turn this show into the household name it is today. They have been amazing assets to the show and will always be a part of the ‘Top Model’ family. We will continue to actively work with each of them on future projects.”
Tyra also took to her Facebook page this morning declaring her undying love for the friends she just fired in typically diplomatic TV land fashion, “To my Nigel Barker, Miss J, and Mr Jay: Thank you for all of our years together on America's Next Top Model! Working with you is always an absolute pleasure. Excited for what the future holds for us. XOXO, TyTy”
Nigel Barker who is a high fashion photographer aside from his now defunct gig as ANTM judge spoke to E! news about the reasons he can think of behind the cut.
"It wasn't a shock ... There had been a discussion that ratings were down and that something like this would happen. There had been previous years where discussions about me being eliminated from the show had happened and I had actually survived the chopping block before."Low ratings? Well considering the show has been going on since 2003 for a whopping 18 cycles it’s probably due to a bad case of ANTM fatigue. No really. Who can even keep track of these “cycles” anymore? And more importantly, where are these “top models”? Not at New York Fashion Week that’s for sure.
Being released from Top Model’s constrictive contract might actually not be the worst thing though for the three panelists. Barker revealed to E! in the interview that the “contract was so exclusive that it was holding me back from other projects” and that he’s now working on launching a line of skin care products and cosmetics for men.
Jay Manuel also spoke out about the end of his run on the CW show on his blog today. In a really sweet and heartfelt statement he thanked all the fans for watching and supporting them thru the years.
Thank you all for your kind words. It’s true, after 18 cycles, I will not be returning to America’s Next Top Model.J. alexander or Miss J. as he is affectionately known has been friends with Tyra since she was sixteen years old. They met backstage at a runway show, and he began to give her walking lessons. Miss J. who lives in Paris with his son has remained silent on the firings and made no public statement as of yet.
Most importantly, I must give a big thank you to all our fans! It’s been extraordinary being a part of an such an amazing brand that we all worked hard to build. From the first cycle you embraced us and nine years later, we still feel that love. I’ve truly been blessed to work on a show that was recognized and loved around the world. I’ll take with me memories and lessons that will last a lifetime.
Nigel, Miss J and I had a great run, and now it’s time for us to move on. But you know me… I’m already working on many interesting projects. I look forward to sharing with you soon!
Images VIA Jay Manuel