Looks like not even those who sit behind the judging panel are spared from elimination by Tyra Banks. Page Six reports that the former supermodel and creator of America's Next Top Model has fired longtime pals Nigel Barker, J. Alexander and Jay Manuel from the show. The trio, who were told yesterday they would not be returning, have been part of ANTM since it's inception in 2003.
For the past 18 cycles, Alexander served as the contestants' runway coach, Manuel as creative director of photo shoots and Barker as judge and sometimes-photographer.
A show insider says the departures were a “production decision” and that there are “major changes planned for [season] 19.”
Executive producer Ken Mok said in a statement: “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 dropped the news on her Facebook page yesterday, writing, "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."
Neither of the three have commented on the axing as of now, but stay tuned for more details.
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(Photos from left: Craig Barritt/Getty Images, Mike Coppola/Getty Images)