Banks — who created the reality competition series — took a one-season hiatus from hosting “America’s Next Top Model” when the show moved to VH1 from the CW for its most recent season, but remained executive producer and appeared throughout the season, while Rita Ora served as host.
The news comes just days after Banks was announced as the new host of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” which will see the departure of long-time host Nick Cannon.
“I’m overwhelmed and humbled by the intensity of the ‘ANTM’ fan base whose deep affection for the show led me to have a change of heart,” said Banks in a statement. “After giving it a lot of thought, I realized that remaining behind the camera wasn’t enough because ‘ANTM’ is woven into my DNA.”
“Tyra has always been the heart and soul of the franchise and her absence was deeply felt by our fiercely loyal fans who missed their Queen of the Smize. We’d like to thank Rita Ora for being a great partner and total pro. She infused this new iteration of ‘ANTM’ with passion and creativity and we wish her nothing but the best in her future endeavors,” said executive producer Ken Mok, who created the global franchise with Banks.
After running for 12 years and 22 cycles on the CW and its predecessor UPN, “America’s Next Top Model” was cancelled by the CW and ended its run on the network in December 2015. VH1 then picked up the series without Banks hosting, though she and Mok were integral in the creative re-development of the series.
Around the same time that “Top Model” ended on CW, Banks left her own syndicated talk show “FABLife,” which was then cancelled after one season. At the time, Banks said she was leaving the daytime show to focus on her cosmetics line, Tyra Beauty. Banks has always been keen to the idea of returning to “Top Model” — before VH1 revived the show, the media mogul told Variety she would not be surprised if “ANTM” returned and she’d have to think about returning as host, saying, “I would definitely produce. I just have to talk to the new partners about being on camera. One thing that I have learned is that alignment is key and you have to be aligned with your partners. When you’re not, things can go very awry. So if not, then maybe I would have somebody else do it.”
VH1’s new season of “Top Model,” which marks the 24th cycle, will begin production this summer. “America’s Got Talent” also airs during the summer season on NBC. Banks will be pulling double duty hosting both “Top Model” and “AGT,” and she’s also serving as an on-camera mentor on NBC’s upcoming business entrepreneur reality competition “Funded,” which has not landed a premiere date yet.