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Warners expands Tyra Banks deal

Host signs multiyear pact with studio

Tyra Banks is building a bigger catwalk, inking an expansive overall deal with Warner Bros. and hiring a new exec team to run her Bankable Prods. banner.

Multiyear pact calls for Banks to develop scripted skeins via Warner Bros. Television and reality fare via Warner Horizon. In addition, she’s expanding into film, working on direct-to-DVD projects for Warner Premiere, starting with adaptations of the bestselling Clique series of teen novels.

The “America’s Next Top Model” producer-host has also carved out a series development deal with the CW, which is half-owned by Warners. Agreement covers both scripted and nonscripted projects.

Hyphenate is set to continue on “Top Model” and as host of her syndie gabber, which is produced via Warner’s Telepictures unit. “Top Model” has just begun lensing in Gotham on its 10th cycle.

Banks said the new deal “represents the growth of an already successful relationship” with the studio.

“Warner Bros. understands my brand and the reach and demand of our audience,” she said. 

WBTV topper Peter Roth said the studio looked forward to working on scripted projects with Banks, calling her “one of television’s most versatile talents.”

Banks has tapped Laura Armstrong — a former staffer at Doug Liman’s Hypnotic banner — to serve as senior VP of development and production. She joins Bankable from Endemol USA, where she held a similar post.

Banks said that execs at Warner Bros. and Endeavor both suggested she meet with Armstrong.

She has also upped Bradford Sisk to VP of production. He’s been with the company since 2004 and will continue to oversee production of “Top Model” for Bankable.

Banks is teaming with Alloy Entertainment for a series of DVD movies based on the Little, Brown-published Clique books, which delve into young-adult social politics; they’ve sold more than 4 million copies in the U.S. She’ll serve as an exec producer on the project, which has been in the works since last summer (Daily Variety, June 27).

“I’ve been a mean girl and I’ve been teased, so I identify with both sides of it,” Banks told Daily Variety. “This is very much my brand, especially as teenage girls are dedicated to watching both my shows.”

Warner Premiere prexy Diane Nelson said the studio plans to market Banks-produced titles under the banner of “Tyra Banks Presents.” Exec said Banks will help give the films “a built-in audience.”

As for series development, Banks said she’s looking to create shows “that attract my core audience” and that are “aspirational and empowering.”

“But we’re going to have a lot of fun with those messages, too,” she added.

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