Tyra Banks ‘Happy’ For Nigel Barker’s New Model Show Hosting Gig

Nigel Barker is gearing up to host a new modeling competition for Oxygen and his former “America’s Next Top Model” boss, Tyra Banks, said was pleased for her former colleague.

“I’m happy for Nigel,” she told AccessHollywood.com on Sunday night at a CBS, The CW and Showtime bash in Beverly Hills following the day’s Television Critics Association summer tour session. “I mean, come on. He’s amazing and he built ‘Top Model’ with us so I can only wish him success. We’re in 170 countries and 24 formats.”

Tyra’s retooled “ANTM” launches on August 24, and instead of Nigel and Andre Leon Talley joining the supermodel at the bench, in Cycle 19, it is Kelly Cutrone (who was on the show last season), international male model (and former boxer) Rob Evans and the audience.

“We’re calling it ‘Fierce Friday Foursome,’ meaning me, Kelly Cutrone, Rob Evans and the fourth judge is the home audience, which we’ve never done before,” Tyra explained.

Just like on “Dancing with the Stars,” the audience has a say in who gets voted off, although in the case of “ANTM,” the voting already happened.

“While we were shooting, because we’re not a live show… Every week we would post the photos that the girls did. And so the audience at home would go [online] around the entire globe and vote… on who they thought should go home and who should stay,” she told reporters at Sunday’s event.

Beyond the audience voting element, the show also has a new theme for Cycle 19. Like Harvard business school grad Tyra was until her recent graduation, the models are students. For every challenge a woman wins in Cycle 19, “ANTM” deposits money in an account to be used for scholarship.

The changes keep coming within the panel too. Now settled into the judges’ bench comfortably, Tyra said Kelly is taking on one of her unofficial duties.

“Kelly is absolutely fantastic… She’s almost the star of that judging row,” Tyra told Access. “We have a photo shoot with shoes and the girl is modeling her a** off with those feet and so Kelly combines shoes and smize in a way, I was like, ‘Damn! I usually come up with the new words!’ But she invented a new word.”

And Rob has also made an impression.

“We have this thing with Rob where he’s very difficult to look at for longer than three seconds at a time. You can ask all my crew… so it’s intimidating, but then you get to know him and he becomes family and very warm,” she said.

Tyra credits many of the new changes coming to “ANTM” Cycle 19 to her Harvard degree.

“I look at the show how my curriculum was at Harvard,” she said when Access asked how her education affected the show. “So I break down everything [using] strategy. It’s not just like, ‘Oh! What can we do?’ It’s like, ‘What is our true strategy for this.’

“[I also look at] finance and accounting,” she added. “I’m breaking up those books saying, ‘How can we do more with less?’… Harvard totally changed ‘Top Model’ upside down.”

-- Jolie Lash

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