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Many fans were shocked last week when the news broke that The CW’s America’s Next Top Model had let go of longtime cast members, judge Nigel Barker, creative director Jay Manuel and model coach J. Alexander for the upcoming season. In a recent interview, executive producer and host Tyra Banks addressed the decision.
“We reached a point where we feel that the show just needs a new boost,” she told Access Hollywood. “And there’s a lot of people that go into that decision. It’s very difficult, because I love my guys. I mean, they’re my guys. They’ve been there since the beginning of the show.”
After the news broke, Barker said that his firing wasn’t a huge shock to him with the series’ lower ratings and that he had survived several probably cuts before. He also tried to take the blame off Banks by saying it was the network’s decision. That may have been a strategic move on his part, since he said he’s interested in moving on to new TV projects.
“They’ll still be there,” Banks promised. “My partner Ken Mok and I, we have projects that we’re developing and we’re a family. It doesn’t end.”
Barker, Manuel and Alexander had been with the show since its first season in 2003. Banks confirmed the news of their firings via Twitter and a joint statement with Mok on Friday.
“Nigel Barker, Jay Manuel and J. Alexander have been an integral part of the America’s Next Top Model brand,” the statement reads. “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.”
Watch the interview below.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro
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