America's Next Top ModelAmerica's Next Top Model (abbreviated ANTM and Top Model) is an American reality television series and interactive competition in which a number of aspiring models compete for the title of "America's Next Top Model" and a chance to begin their career in the modeling industry. Created by Tyra Banks, who also serves as an executive producer, and developed by Ken Mok and Kenya Barris, the series premiered in May 2003, and aired semiannually until 2012, then annually from 2013. The first six seasons (referred to as "cycles") aired on UPN, before UPN merged with The WB to create The CW in 2006. The following sixteen cycles aired on The CW until the series was first cancelled in October 2015. The series was revived in 2016 and has been airing on VH1 ever since. The series was among the highest-rated programs on UPN and was the highest-rated show on The CW from 2007 to 2010. Advertisers paid $61,315 per 30-second slot during the 2011–12 television season, the highest of any series on The CW. The first 22 cycles of the series and cycle 24 were presented by Banks, while cycle 23 was presented by Rita Ora. The series also employs a panel of two or three additional judges, a creative director and a runway coach.
Cycles 1–16, 19 and 23–24 each consisted of a cast of 10–15 female contestants with no previous participation on the series. Cycle 17's cast consisted entirely of previous participants, while cycle 18's had seven new contestants and seven former Britain's Next Top Model participants. Cycles 20–22 featured male contestants in the contest, including two male winners. , 24 people have won the competition. Winners typically receive a feature in a magazine and a contract with a modeling agency among other prizes. The series is the originator of the international Top Model franchise. Over thirty versions of the series have been produced internationally.
BackgroundIt was announced on January 24, 2006, that Top Model would be part of the new The CW network, a merge between UPN and The WB, when the seventh cycle started in September airing on Wednesdays. The series became the first series among regular programming to air on the network. Prior to the announcement of merging with The WB, UPN had committed to renewing the series through its ninth cycle on January 20, 2006, for which casting was conducted throughout mid-2006. America's Next Top Model was the only show left on the network that was originally from UPN.
On July 21, 2006, the writers of America's Next Top Model went on strike while working on cycle 7, set to premiere on the new CW Network in September 2006. The writers sought representation through the Writers Guild of America, West, which would allow them regulated wages, access to portable health insurance, and pension benefits. These benefits would be similar to those given to writers on scripted shows. The strike was the focus of a large rally of Hollywood writers coinciding with the premiere of the new network on September 20, 2006. The dispute was chronicled in a July 24 interview on the website Television Without Pity with Daniel J. Blau, a former recapper on the site who covered the series, and at the time was an America's Next Top Model show producer. In November 2006, the writers on strike were taken off payroll.
To celebrate its tenth cycle, America's Next Top Model aired a special installment called America's Next Top Model: Exposed in two parts on the CW on Wednesday, February 6 & 13, 2008. It reviewed the best catfights, mishaps and most memorable photo shoots, personalities, defining moments and contained other segments about the show since cycles 1 to 9, and featured a special opening fusing all three openings together. Camille McDonald (cycles 2 and 17), Toccara Jones (cycle 3), Eva Pigford (cycle 3 winner), Bre Scullark (cycles 5 and 17), Cassandra Whitehead (cycle 5), Joanie Dodds (cycle 6), Jael Strauss (cycle 8), Dionne Walters (cycle 8), Heather Kuzmich (cycle 9), and Bianca Golden (cycles 9 and 17) all returned to comment on events that happened in their or other cycles.
After announcing that the seventeenth season would be an All-Stars version, Banks said on The CW upfronts in May 2011, that there wouldn't be a "normal" season of the show anymore. With the start of the eighteenth British Invasion cycle, the program converted to high definition, becoming the second-to-last primetime show on the five major English-language broadcast networks in the United States to make the switch, and the last to air in the regular season to do so.
The show is syndicated to NBCUniversal's cable division, with Oxygen as well as Style Network carrying the series, usually in marathon form throughout the daytime period on either network, and running through most of or an entire cycle. Bravo, MTV, and VH1 have also aired the series in the past. E! also currently airs reruns of ANTM.
FormatEach cycle of America's Next Top Model has 9–16 episodes and starts with 10–16 contestants. Contestants are judged weekly on their overall appearance, participation in challenges, and best shot from that week's photo shoot; each episode, one contestant is eliminated, though in rare cases a double elimination or no elimination was given by consensus of the judging panel. Makeovers are administered to contestants early in the season (usually after the first or second elimination in the finals) and a trip to an international destination is scheduled about two-thirds of the way through the cycle.
Judges and other staff membersThe series employs a panel of judges who critique contestants' progress throughout the competition. Throughout its broadcast, the program has employed seventeen different judges. The original panel consisted of Banks (who also serves as its presenter), Janice Dickinson, Kimora Lee Simmons, and Beau Quillian. Quillian and Simmons were replaced by Nigel Barker and Eric Nicholson in cycle 2, before Nicholson was replaced by Nolé Marin in cycle 3. After cycle 4, Marin and Dickinson were replaced by J. Alexander and Twiggy in cycle 5. Paulina Porizkova joined the panel in cycle 10, in place of Twiggy. After cycle 12, Porizkova was fired by Banks and the panel was left with three judges (Banks, Alexander and Barker) in cycle 13. In cycle 14, Alexander left the panel and was replaced by André Leon Talley, but continued as the series' runway coach. In cycle 18, Kelly Cutrone replaced Talley. After cycle 18, Banks fired long-standing cast members Barker, Alexander and photo shoot director Jay Manuel. Barker was replaced by Rob Evans in cycle 19, and Manuel by Johnny Wujek. Alexander returned to the panel in cycle 21 in place of Evans. For cycle 23 the entire panel, including Banks, was replaced with Rita Ora, Ashley Graham, Drew Elliott and Law Roach while Stacey McKenzie replaced Alexander as runway coach. For the 24th cycle, Banks returned as the main judge and presenter, replacing Ora, while the rest of the personnel remained unchanged.
In the first eighteen cycles, an additional guest judge was welcomed to the panel each week. For the nineteenth and twentieth cycles, public voting was represented on the panel by Bryanboy. For the twenty-first cycle public voting was simply presented on screen doing call-out.
Though not a judge, Jay Manuel served as the creative director during contestants' photo shoots for the first to eighteenth cycles. During the nineteenth and twentieth cycles, Johnny Wujek replaced Manuel as the creative director of all the shoots, and Yu Tsai replaced Wujek in the twenty-first and twenty-second cycles. Elliot served as both judge and creative director in cycle 23 and 24.
List of judges
Los Angeles has been the primary filming location of most of the seasons. The first three seasons of America's Next Top Model were filmed in New York City, along with seasons 10, 12, 14 and 23.;Notes
PartnershipsAmerica's Next Top Model was also connected with Banks' talk show, on which several contestants have appeared, most notably Natasha Galkina (cycle 8), who worked as a correspondent for the show. The show's stage was also used for the cycle 5 reunion show.
In 2008, Banks launched a new reality show inside the Tyra Show, called Modelville which featured past contestants Renee DeWitt (cycle 8), Bianca Golden (cycle 9), Dominique Reighard, Fatima Siad and Lauren Utter (all cycle 10) vying for a $50,000 contract with Carol's Daughter. The competition was ultimately won by Reighard.
The ANTM franchise released a clothing and accessories line based on the television show, which is sold at most Walmart stores. It ranges from cosmetic products to handbags. Dolls were also released based on the show that were made by MGA Entertainment.
Deceased contestants2015: Eighth-placing finalist Mirjana Puhar (cycle 21) was shot and killed on February 24, 2015 in her boyfriend's home in Charlotte, North Carolina.
2016: Kimberly Rydzewski (cycle 10) died on December 19, 2016. She was 29 years old.
2018: On December 4, 2018 Jael Strauss (cycle 8) died at age 34 due to stage 4 breast cancer.
Impact in pop cultureThe show has been referred to in many series, such as ABC Family's GREEK, CBS's The Big Bang Theory, and Fox's Family Guy. It also had its own E! True Hollywood Story episode, featuring past contestants Ebony Haith, Giselle Samson, Elyse Sewell (all cycle 1), Adrianne Curry (cycle 1 winner), Camille McDonald (cycles 2 & 17), April Wilkner, Mercedes Scelba-Shorte (both cycle 2), Toccara Jones, Ann Markley, Amanda Swafford (all cycle 3), Eva Pigford (cycle 3 winner), Michelle Deighton (cycle 4), Brittany Brower (cycles 4 & 17), Naima Mora (cycle 4 winner), Ebony Taylor (cycle 5), Lisa D'Amato (cycle 5 & cycle 17 winner), Kim Stolz (cycle 5) and Bre Scullark (cycles 5 & 17) as well as judges & personals Janice Dickinson, Tyra Banks, Nigel Barker, J. Alexander, Jay Manuel, Ken Mok and Michelle Mock-Falcon. It covered the first five cycles and recently re-aired with a few added minutes of footage which cover cycles 6 to 10 and Stylista.
In 2009, Oxygen Network aired a series based on the show called Top Model Obsessed, featuring past contestants Lisa D'Amato (cycle 5 & cycle 17 winner), CariDee English (cycle 7 winner) and Bianca Golden (cycles 9 & 17).
Many credit America's Next Top Model for inspiring later reality TV shows, most notably RuPaul's Drag Race. Kevin O'Keefe and Mathew Rodriguez noted that America's Next Top Model served as "the biggest inspiration" for the show and that season 1 of RuPaul's Drag Race was "a parody of a couple different reality shows ... but more so (of) America's Next Top Model". They explain that "Top Model was a groundbreaking reality show" and that "it crawled so that Drag Race could walk". They drew parallels between Tyra Banks and RuPaul as black people "who (have) been at the top of their field" and "play a persona" on their respective shows. They also compared the judging panels, comparing Michelle Visage to Nigel Barker as an "anchor main judge" who is "harsher in their critiques", although contrasted RuPaul's judges with Tyra's, stating that "RuPaul has never allowed a drag queen to sit on the panel the way Tyra would bring in either Janice Dickinson then Twiggy." Moreover, the "first mini challenge of the first several seasons of Drag Race used to always be a photoshoot" and season 6's photoshoot of jumping off a platform was "directly taken from a photoshoot in season 6 of ANTM, where they had to play fairy tale characters and jump" off a platform. Another "artefact" of Top Model's influence on the show comes from Drag Race's focus on runway, with season 8 contestant Kim Chi being "criticised for not having a model walk". Most importantly, America's Next Top Model "was one of the most queer shows on TV" with regard to the inclusion of Jay Manuel, J. Alexander and Benny Ninja on the judging panel and numerous openly LGBTQ+ contestants, most notably Isis King. It was "covertly queer enough to make the space on TV for something as queer as Drag Race."
U.S. television ratingsFor the 2006–2009 and 2010–2011 television seasons, America's Next Top Model was the No.1 show in average viewers on The CW.
:Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.
CriticismYahoo!'s Shine lifestyle website said the show contained cruelty and elements of humiliation, and that some critiques from the judges are "really cruel and cringe-inducing", claiming that the show "humiliates and degrades young women." The site created the list "10 reasons why 'America's Next Top Model' is bad for women, humans", citing such things as giving the contestants and women viewers unrealistic visions of life as a model, and "always espousing empowerment and female strength and then forcing the contestants into embarrassing scenarios far outside the realm of real-life modeling". One such scenario highlighted was when cycle 12's final two contestants "were made to wear bikinis so skimpy that the producers had to blur out Allison Harvard's butt cheeks", and performed a "creepily sexual mud fight," after which contestant and winner Teyona Anderson was "commended for taking her weave in her hand and whipping it around on the runway like a sexy feather boa."
Allure magazine criticized the show in its October 2006 issue, saying that ANTM "hasn't exactly produced any actual supermodels."
Ken Mok and Banks noticed that most of cycle 8's girls were unusually heavy smokers. "Tyra and I understand the influence 'Top Model' has on a generation of young people, and we want to make sure we get the right message to our audience," Mok said, which then prompted the "green" theme of cycle 9.
The winner of cycle 9, Saleisha Stowers, was discovered to have been in a Wendy's commercial, on a catwalk in the cycle 6 show and an episode of Tyra Banks Show prior to her participation. The rules of the competition stated that a contestant must not have appeared as a model in a national campaign during the five years prior to the production of the cycle in which they participate. The CW network said she had revealed her role in the Wendy's commercial, and "after reviewing the commercial, it was determined that her appearance did not amount to 'modeling' experience, and therefore did not exclude her from participating in the show."
After filming cycle 10, the producers of America's Next Top Model were served with a lawsuit from Michael Marvisi, the owner of the loft used as the Top Model house. The lawsuit claimed that the contestants as well as the production crew caused an estimated $500,000 in damages to the loft. Marvisi claims the contestants engaged in food fights, made holes in the walls, caused water damage to the bathroom, damaged a $15,000 chandelier beyond repair, and caused $90,000 worth of damage to an electrical store. Also, the production crew was accused of damaging the flooring and making holes in the ceiling for lighting equipment.
The show has also been criticized for its handling of sexual assault allegations from the contestants. For instance, Keenyah was sexually harassed by a male model on a photo shoot during cycle 4 and the show has been criticized for not doing anything when the model stroked her inner thigh , moaned in her ear, took photos of her and harassed her repeatedly for her phone number. Similarly, in cycle 15, the girls were required to kiss a male model during a commercial. Shortly before the commercial shoot however, Kayla revealed that she was sexually assaulted at eleven years old, tearfully telling Jay Manuel that the "challenge freaks me out" and that "I don't want to interact with them" because men "scare me." Ferrel was still made to do the commercial against her wishes and, later in the competition, had to do three additional photo shoots with male models. Similarly, in cycle 16, during a fan meet and greet challenge, Monique was approached by a man who her asked to sign a photo and write that he was a good kisser on it. She declined but said that fellow contestant Alexandria would do it. After resisting the man's advances repeatedly, she finally gave in and have him a kiss on the cheek. She was cricitised by J. Alexander for this, who said this could lead onto "stalking", which many deemed unfair, since she was heavily pressured by the man to do so.
Many have suspected that the show is fixed and certain contestants have had bad photos from their photoshoot put forward to panel, in a bid to get them bad critiques and then eliminated. In a May 2020 Instagram livestream, Jay Manuel seemed to confirm these rumours, saying that after every photoshoot, as the creative director, he would choose the "top 4" photos from each girls' photoshoot, and then "put a heart" on one he believed to be the best. He explained that he gave those photos to Tyra and he used to talk to Tyra Banks about the photoshoot. However, he alleged that he was often "surprised" when Tyra often didn't pick one of the photos that Jay chose, although said that he didn't know if it was Tyra or production who did it, or why. Manuel also discredited Tyra's claims that she looks through everyone's entire film, saying that he rates the girl's films from 5 stars to 1 star, and Tyra only looked through the films that Jay ranked 5, 4 or 3 stars, saying there was "no point" going through the 2 or 1 star films, especially since Tyra didn't have the time.
International broadcastsAmerica's Next Top Model is currently shown on TV internationally in 170 countries and regions, namely: Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and the whole of Southeast Asia (except Timor-Leste). The following table shows countries and regions that have aired this show:
The channels in bold also broadcast their own version of Top Model.The international versions of Top Model have generally been better received by critics. In an article for The Atlantic, Adrienne Raphel explained that "Oddly enough, it's the foreign Top Model spinoffs that are in the more direct business of producing working models, like Ksenia Kahtovitch and Alice Burdeu, not the beautytainment ... queens of ANTM."
Slate's Torie Bosch points out that the international versions "have retained what works best about ANTM—the in-house drama, the torturous makeovers, the ridiculous assignments—while skipping what's worst about it: hokey judge antics, outlandish veneration of Tyra, and sob-story contestants."
In October 2008, The CW announced that it had ordered a spin-off pilot of America's Next Top Model, titled Operation Fabulous. The proposed show would have starred ANTM creative director Jay Manuel and runway coach Mrs. J. Alexander as they travel the country to provide makeovers to everyday women. Tyra Banks and Ken Mok would have served as executive producers for the new show. However, The CW ultimately declined to pick up the show.