Was Tyra Banks feeling the 9-year-itch when she decided to fire her trusted panel of experts Jay Manuel, J. Alexander and Nigel Barker from America's Next Top Model?
The former supermodel-turned-TV mogul shocked fans when she confirmed the news via Facebook on Friday that she had sacked her longtime pals, who have been with the popular show since its inception in 2003. Now, Banks speaks to the press for the first time about her decision.
"We reached a point where we feel the show needs a new boost," Banks, 39, told Access Hollywood at New York City's Matrix Awards on Monday.
"It's very difficult because I love my guys — they're my guys," Banks says, adding that the door is open to work with the trio in the future. "My partner, Ken Mok, and I have projects we're developing, and we're a family — it doesn't end."
While his colleagues were surprised by the news, photographer and judger Barker had an idea the ax was looming. "I'm friends with Tyra and the producers," Barker told E! News Friday. "There had been a discussion that ratings were down and that something like this would happen."
No details have yet been spilled about who will replace the show's glam squad, but a rep for the CW did confirm that power publicist Kelly Cutrone will be returning for Cycle 19.
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(Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)