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Tyra Banks Axes Longtime 'Top Model' Co-Stars
April 20, 2012
America's Next Top Model host/producer Tyra Banks has abruptly fired the show's longtime panel of experts, Nigel Barker, J. Alexander and Jay Manuel.
The New York Post first reported that the three judges were informed Thursday that their contracts would not be renewed for the show's Cycle 18. Fashion photographer Barker, runway coach Alexander and creative director Manuel had been with America's Next Top Model since it premiered in May 2003 on the UPN network.
Tyra later confirmed the bloodbath on her official Facebook page and thanked the departing crew for their years of service. "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."
Barker responded via his personal blog. "I will miss the cast, the crew and ANTM will always have a special place in my heart, having made life-long friendships with countless fond memories," he wrote. "This change will allow me to take on new projects and turn my attention to other business prospects in the worlds of fashion, beauty and entertainment."
In a statement, the show's executive producers Banks and Ken Mok told Us Weekly: "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."