'America's Next Top Model' upgrades judges

Producer credits Italian Vogue's involvement

A new crop of highly-regarded fashion insiders will appear as guest judges on America's Next Top Model this fall.

Photographer Patrick Demarchelier, photographer-director Matthew Rolston, and designers Diane von Furstenberg, Zac Posen and Roberto Cavalli will offer critiques on the 15th cycle of Tyra Bank's CW series, which premieres Sept. 8.

While celebrities such as Victoria Beckham and Jennifer Lopez have appeared on the show in the past, it is now attracting prestigious industry insiders thanks to a partnership with Italian Vogue, says the Los Angeles Times.

"We've always been a very mainstream show... a hidden secret or guilty secret of the fashion world," executive producer Ken Mok told the Times Tuesday. "No one confesses out loud to watching it. But the second we went out and told the world that Italian Vogue was going to be the prize… that completely opened the doors, carte blanche, to any and everybody we wanted."

The magazine's editor, tastemaker Franca Sozzani, will also serve as a guest judge, and the winner will appear in a six to eight page spread in the magazine early next year, as well as another spread in the May 2011 supplement, Beauty in Vogue.

Past winners have appeared on the more consumer-friendly Marie Claire, Jane, Elle and most recently, Seventeen.

"All of a sudden it's not 'America's Next Top Model,' " added creator, host and executive producer Tyra Banks. "It's 'America's Next Top Modelle,' dahling.' It's totally elevating it with the fashion industry."

The show has dropped in ratings in recent years. Last season averaged 3.3 million viewers compared to its high of 5 million in 2004.
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