April 20, 2012 9:17am PT by Lacey Rose
'Top Model' Shakeup: Three Veterans Out
America's Next Top Model is shedding a layer.
The CW's venerable reality competition, now in its 18th cycle, has dropped Nigel Barker, Jay Manuel and J. Alexander. Host and executive producer Tyra Banks confirmed the news via Twitter, tweeting: "Fierce & love 2 my Nigel, Jay & Miss J. ANTM turned us in2 a family. Excited for what the future holds for us."
In an official statement released by the femme-skewing network, Banks and fellow EP Ken Mok said: "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."
The trio has been with the fashion series since its early days, as other boldfaced names from Kimora Lee Simmons to Janice Dickinson have come and gone. There have been no replacements named for the series' 19th edition, which will feature college-age contestants.
The news comes as the series has taken a hit with viewers, premiering earlier this year to a dismal 0.6 demo rating, down 45 percent year-over-year. Still, ANTP, which got its start on CW predecessor UPN, has been a valuable unscripted asset for a network that has struggled with the reality genre.