The “ANTM” veterans served as the series’ panel of experts. Manuel, who served as a creative consultant, and Alexander, who was the runway coach, have appeared on all 18 cycles of the CW TV reality modeling series since it began in 2003. Barker, a fashion photographer and judge, joined the series in 2004.
‘America’s Next Top Model’ executive producer Tyra Banks 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 were apparently informed that their contracts would not be renewed for the 19th cycle of the series last Thursday morning.
“To my Nigel Barker, Miss J, and Mr Jay: Thank you for all of our years together on America’s Next Top Model,” Banks wrote on her Facebook page. “Working with you is always an absolute pleasure. Excited for what the future holds for us. XOXO, TyTy.”
Barker told E! News that he wasn’t surprised about the firing and has no hard feelings towards Tyra Banks.
“It wasn’t a shock. I’m friends with Tyra and the producers…There had been a discussion that ratings were down and that something like this would happen,” Barker said. “There had been previous years where discussions about me being eliminated from the show had happened and I had actually survived the chopping block before.”
Nigel Barker, a former male model, said that he already has a few new projects in the works, including a new show and a cosmetics and skin care line for men. “We had an incredible run and there aren’t any hard feelings,” he continued. “This isn’t a Tyra thing. This is a network thing. My contract was so exclusive that it was holding me back from other projects.”
This, of course, isn’t the first time the series has undergone cast shakeups. Original judge Janice Dickinson left in 2005 with several revolving judges over the later seasons including models Twiggy and Paulina Porizkova.
Former Vogue magazine editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley joined in 2010 along with a high fashion upgrade for the show that included a partnership with Italian Vogue. He was replaced in the current season by fashion publicist Kelly Cutrone.
The long-running series suffered from the lowest ratings yet during the current 18th cycle, dubbed the “British Invasion,” which premiered in February.