*Tyra Banks has gone public about the recent “America’s Next Top Model” firings of Nigel Barker, Jay Manuel and J. Alexander, saying the model search series “just needs a new boost.”
Though Banks is sorry to see the three judges and fashion experts go after 18 cycles on the show, business is business and “ANTM” ratings are down.
“It’s very difficult because I love my guys. I mean, they’re my guys,” Banks told “Access Hollywood.” However, “it wasn’t a shock,” she continued. “There had been a discussion that ratings were down and that something like this would happen.” [Scroll down to watch interview.]
According to Barker, the ANTM firings didn’t come as a surprise. As he told E! Online, “It wasn’t a shock … There had been previous years with discussions about me being eliminated from the show … I had actually survived the chopping block before.”
But despite the stifling decision to cut the trio who had been with “ANTM” from the beginning, Banks assured that Nigel and the Jays would continue to remain involved in the franchise.
“They’ll still be there because my partner Ken Mok and I, we have projects that we’re developing, and we’re a family,” she said. “So it doesn’t end.”
*Controversy hovered over the Wednesday’s season finale of “America’s Next Top Model’s” first all-stars cycle due to an out-of-the-blue and largely unexplained disqualification of one of the final three contestants.
Lisa D’Amato, Allison Harvard, and Angelea Preston were battling for the crown, but after an unusual panel, the judges declared that Preston was disqualified – without saying exactly why – and that D’Amato and Harvard would square off for the title.
Eventually, D’Amato was named the winner, but the buzz around the Internet continued to focus on the nature of Preston’s dismissal.
In a statement, the CW said it had learned information about Preston after the show wrapped that disqualified her, and actually re-shot scenes, suggesting Preston might have been declared the winner the first time around.
The network said: “After production wrapped on the current cycle of ‘America’s Next Top Model,’ we learned information that made Angelea ineligible and she was subsequently disqualified from the competition. As a result, new scenes were filmed to address this for the audience during the finale.”
Although it has not confirmed, word has it that Preston might have bragged about her victory on her Facebook page before the finale, thus breaking the rules of the competition.
*“America’s Next Top Model” returns to The CW on Wednesday (Sept. 14) with an All-Stars edition and host Tyra Banks is plugging the season premiere with a new video that features several of the girls –played by the former supermodel herself.
In the video, Tyra is shown dreaming about some of the former contestants (played by her in various wigs and accents) pleading to become all-stars before the dream escalates and she finds the models are surrounding her bed.
“Alright! I’ll do an ‘All-Stars’ cycle!” she shouts after waking up disorientated. “Just get out of my head!”
Watch the new “America’s Next Top Model” promo below: