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The CW's 'Top Model' combines aspiration and perspiration

Hollywood Reporter - United States - It might just be that the seminal moment for "America's Next Top Model" (born May 20, 2003) arrived when it tapped fashion photographer Nigel Barker to be a judge at the beginning of what it refers to as "Cycle 2." Barker is U.K.-born, you see, and if the unscripted TV world has taught us anything, it's that you need a Brit helping with judging in order to succeed on any sort of elite scale.

"That's simply how it is," Barker insists. "It's an established fact that your show needs a bit of salt, a little pepper and a dash of Englishman."

Perhaps this is a key reason why, beginning with that second cycle, the show often referred to as "ANTM" morphed into a modest phenomenon. Indeed, if supermodels tend to have notoriously short careers, it's worthy of note that the same isn't true of "Top Model" -- which not only continues to steam ahead with its 100th episode tonight at 8 p.m. PST on the CW but can make a claim matched by few hit series in having outlived the network that spawned it.

The show has emerged from the ashes of the defunct UPN (R.I.P., 1995-2006) looking none the worse for wear, metaphorically high-stepping from one runway to another back in September 2006. En route, it has grown to become Earth's Next Top Reality Format, a juggernaut with international appeal and a trump card in its wildly popular creator/executive producer/star Tyra Banks. Having that English guy hasn't hurt, either, even if he lacks the nasty gene made legendary by Simon Cowell.

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"Top Model's" 10th-cycle launch last Wednesday confirmed that the show remains a ratings player, taking second place in its target demographics of adults 18-34 and women 18-34 and 18-49 behind time-slot competitor "American Idol." Since premiering its second batch of episodes in January 2004,

it has been the most watched show on first UPN and now the CW, never generating less than a 12% share of young women.

"Viewers are very loyal to this show," notes Dawn Ostroff, the CW's entertainment president, who followed "ANTM" over from UPN. "'Top Model' is a project of passion for everyone at this network. We all think it's gotten better and better over the years -- it's water-cooler stuff. And Tyra has just blossomed in every way. She's got this amazing knack for relating to young women."
Source : Originally Published Hollywood Reporter - United States, Feb 27, 2008
Celebrities : Nigel Barker, Tyra Banks
Categories : Model News, Design/Fashion, TV Personalities, America's Next Top Model, Celebrity News
Posted 2/27/2008 12:02:47 AM | Permalink
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