Tyra Banks, the creator and executive producer of the long-running CW modeling competition, America’s Next Top Model, has reportedly fired her crew, letting go the three people who have helped her the most since the show launched in 2003.
According to the New York Post, judge and noted photographer Nigel Barker, photo director Jay Manuel and runway coach and judge J. Alexander (aka Miss Jay) were informed Thursday, April 19th that their contracts would not be renewed after the current season (Cycle 18).
The CW declined to comment on the subject but Banks and Ken Monk--another executive producer, released a statement that read, “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.”
Banks also posted on her Facebook page: “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.” She also tweeted that the four of them had become a “family” doing the show.
The Jays, as they were collectively known on the show, have yet to comment but Barker posted on his own 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.”
No word on what’s next for the three leaving the show but most expect them to be busy. Manuel debuted his own women’s fashion line last year called ATTITUDE Jay Manuel and he’s become a fixture in the fashion circuit and on Style and E! networks.
Meanwhile J. Alexander, who lives in Paris, also wrote Follow the Model: Miss J's Guide to Unleashing Presence, Poise, and Power, and is an in-demand fashion consultant.
The fashion photographer Barker wrote on his blog, “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. I also have a number of new ventures that have been in the works, and I look forward to sharing them with you very soon. Of course, as you might have expected, my efforts on behalf of Haiti, The HSUS, the Make A Wish Foundation, The United Nations Foundation and many more will continue with full force.This next chapter promises to be even more thrilling with the sky’s the limit. I look forward to taking you with me.”
As for Tyra and what remains of Top Model, the Post reported that there are “major changes” planned for the show, and producers have reached out to “bloggers and fashion insiders with a strong Web presence, including street-style blogger Bryan Boy.”