The ratings are down over at “America’s Next Top Model” and host/producer Tyra Banks isn’t going down with her ship. Girlfriend is a SMART business woman and she needs her cash cow to continue with the dispensing of big fat checks into her bank account. To combat those droopy ratings, there’s big changes in store for the next (19th!!!) cycle of the series which airs on The CW. Long time judge/photographer Nigel Barker; photo shoot director Jay Manuel and runway coach “Miss J” Alexander are all being let go as their current contracts expire. There’s no word on who will replace them, or what other changes are being made to reinvigorate the aging show.
Frankly, we’re shocked that Nigel has lasted this long…he had sort of a pretty, British charm at the beginning of the run, but he’s really not that interesting of a personality. The show has already survived a large turnover with the other judges on the show, including popular turns by Janice Dickinson, Paulina Porizkova and Twiggy, and eventually the show ended up eliminating that “professional retired model” judging position. (Which, we feel, was a mistake; those ladies added a lot to the show and dumping the only other female voices other than Tyra’s, led to a certain dull, static quality.)
As for the “Two Jays”, it’s sort of hard to imagine the show WITHOUT them. Blond kewpie gay Jay Manuel added a crisp but friendly bitchiness to the photo shoots, and Miss J. Alexander was the droll, old queen wisely dispensing nuggets of wisdom to the usual parade of overage, dimwitted wannabees that traipsed through the endless cycles of the series. Jay Manuel’s actual background was as a make-up artist but once he’s tasted stardom, how can he go back to being behind the scenes? What’s to become of the “Two Jays”?
And, who’s going to replace them? Maybe Tyra needs to look to an older, wiser mentor who’s managed to steal much of Tyra’s audience in recent years, with a fresher show that both apes and mocks Tyra’s original creation.
Should RuPaul offer Tyra some helpful tips? Maybe loan a queen or two? Maybe the presence of Michelle Visage and Latrice Royale would lift “ANTM” out of its doldrums. It couldn’t hurt.