She's Baaaack! Tyra Banks Returning to America's Next Top Model as Head Judge
VH1 announced Thursday that after sitting the series’ most recent installment out, Banks — who also serves as ANTM‘s creator and executive producer — will topline cycle 24. Production is slated to begin this summer, and additional panelists will be announced at a later date.
Banks, now an established makeup mogul, relinquished her ANTM hosting gig to pop star Rita Ora for cycle 23, previously telling EW in an exclusive interview that the decision to step away had been on her mind since 2007.
“I was like, you know what, I’m ready to bring someone else in. I won’t say the name of that person, but I actually brought a different person to the network, met with them, and said, ‘This is the person I want to take the reins of this show,’” Banks said of her desire to quit the program. “It’s something that’s been on the tip of my fingers for so long, so it wasn’t necessarily difficult [to let go]. It was actually exciting. I wanted the show to continue; I wanted to keep it new. With me creating and owning a significant portion of the show, it’s in my best interests to keep it going and to keep it fresh.”
FROM COINAGE: See Where 6 Stars Were Before They Were Famous
Following the announcement, Ora both thanked and welcomed back the creator and host in sweet messages on Instagram and Twitter.
“Words can’t describe how much FUN I had hosting this show for you – it was such an honour – I grew up watching and loving the show it was a dream come true and I can’t wait for you to hear my new album! It’s TIME PEOPLE!!! Love the whole ANTM cast and crew and good luck for the future!! Love you @tyrabanks,” Ora captioned an Instagram photo of the duo.
“Thank you Tyra! Was such an honour and pleasure being on your show,” she tweeted. “Everyone welcome Tyra back!!”
Banks responded, “Mizz @ritaora, you exemplify Business Boss Brand to the fullest! Thank you for all the amazingness you brought to ANTM.”
Executive producer Ken Mok also commented on the move: “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,” he said in a statement. “She infused this new iteration of ANTM with passion and creativity and we wish her nothing but the best in her future endeavors.”
Following its 2003 debut on UPN, ANTM has switched networks twice. It made the jump to The CW in 2006, and later premiered its 23rd edition on VH1 in December 2016. The show has evolved into a worldwide franchise, spawning merchandise, spin-offs, and international editions in countries from Australia and Finland to South Korea and Israel.
On Sunday, Banks was announced as America’s Got Talent‘s new emcee, replacing Nick Cannon in the post he held for eight consecutive seasons between 2009 and 2016.