March 16, 2017
by Carla Hay
Supermodel/producer/entrepreneur Tyra Banks has been named the new host of the talent contest “America’s Got Talent.” In addition, Banks is returning as host of “America’s Top Model,” the reality show modeling contest that she launched in 2003. Season 12 of “AGT” (which airs in the U.S. on NBC) begins filming in March 2017, while Cycle 24 of “ANTM” (which airs in the U.S. on VH1) begins filming in the summer of 2017.
Banks was a host and a judge on “ANTM” from 2003 to 2015, when it was cancelled by The CW. She remained an executive producer of the show when it was revived in 2016 on VH1 with host Rita Ora and judges Ashley Graham, Drew Elliott and Law Roach. Although Banks did not host “ANTM” that season, she made guest appearances on the show. The judges for Cycle 24 of “ANTM” are to be announced.
Banks commented about returning to host “ANTM” in a statement: “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. After giving it a lot of thought, I realized that remaining behind the camera wasn’t enough because ‘ANTM’ is woven into my DNA.”
In a separate statement, Banks commented on her “AGT” hosting gig: “Since I was a little girl, I’ve been obsessed with grandiose acts and performers who make the seemingly impossible possible. I love how ‘AGT’ brings that feeling into everyone’s home, capturing the best of people who come out and give it their all to make those big, fierce and outrageous dreams come true. I look forward to connecting with the dreamers, having fun and giving hugs and words of encouragement when needed. And maybe I’ll get one or two performers to smize for the audience!”
On “AGT,” Banks replaces Nick Cannon, who hosted the show from 2009 to 2016. Cannon quit “AGT” in February 2017. He made the announcement on February 13, 2017, in a lengthy post on his Facebook page, claiming that he was”threatened with termination by executives ” after he made a racial joke on his Showtime stand-up comedy special “Nick Cannon: Stand Up, Don’t Shoot,” which premiered on February 10, 2017.
Cannon said in his Facebook announcement: “There is no amount of money worth my dignity or my integrity. I have loved hosting ‘America’s Got Talent’ for the last 8 seasons, watching talented, brave, and courageous Americans accomplish their dreams in front of millions has been nothing but a joy, and everyone has been a pleasure to work with but my soul won’t allow me to be in business with corporations that attempt to frown on freedom of speech, censor artists, and question cultural choices.
“Not to get too detailed but this isn’t the first time executives have attempted to ‘put me in my place’ for so called unruly actions. I will not stand for it. My moral principles will easily walk away from the millions of dollars they hang over my head. It’s never been about the money for me, what is difficult to walk away from is the fans, the people who love me on the show.”
In early March 2017, Marlon Wayans confirmed reports that he was being considered as a replacement for Cannon, but Wayans (who is known for his profanity-laced, adult humor) told the media that he didn’t think he would be right for the job, since “America’s Got Talent” is a family viewing show. Tone Bell and Mychal Smith were also named in media reports as being possible candidates to host “AGT.”
On March 14, 2017, Banks posted a photo on her Twitter account of a bouquet of flowers with the accompanying note: “Tyra, congratulations and good luck on AGT! Love, Nick C.” Banks posted her reaction to the kind gesture by saying it “made me smile.”
Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel have returned as judges on “AGT.” Cowell (who is also an executive producer of the show) has signed on to be a judge on “AGT” through 2019.