'America's Next Top Model' adopts new rules for casting calls
By John Bracchitta, 03/20/2009
America's Next Top Model has adopted new procedures for the rest of its upcoming casting calls in light of the chaos that unfolded during last weekend's casting call in New York City.
The CW has announced that, beginning at tomorrow's open casting call at the Fair Park-Centenial Hall in Dallas, TX, no auditioners will be allowed to line up overnight.
Auditioners will only be allowed to begin lining up at the Dallas site at 6AM, and instead of remaining in line all day until their audition turn arrives, the casting call organizers will hand out color-coded wristbands beginning at 7AM. After receiving their wristband, the auditioners will be encouraged to leave the casting call site, with the color of the wristband they receive indicating the specific time that they should return for their audition opportunity. The wristband procedure will also be utilized at the show's other remaining casting calls in Chicago and Los Angeles.
In addition, the network also plans to restrict who will be allowed to wait in line during the casting calls. Only women applying for the show will be permitted to wait in line unless the auditioner is under 18 years of age, in which case a single guardian will be allowed to stand with her.
The changes to America's Next Top Model's casting call procedures are a direct response to the wild scene that occurred outside Manhattan's Park Central New York Hotel during last Saturday's casting call.
Several thousand women -- many of whom began camping out the night before and had family and friends along with them for support -- turned out for the casting call, jamming the nearby sidewalks and causing police to have to set up crowd control barriers.
The situation then took a turn for the worse when a car broke down in the street and rumors that the resulting smoke was actually a bomb began spreading, causing a stampede in which hundreds of people attempted to flee from the scene. An additional fight between two men who were accompanying auditioners to the casting call also contributed to the chaos.
Two people were sent to the hospital while four other declined treatment for injuries. In addition, three people -- two women and a man -- were arrested for disorderly conduct by police, who shut down the casting call.
New York City Police later said they had not been properly informed of how large a crowd to expect by the show's producers, leading to no officers being specifically assigned to the casting call itself.
The unusually large crowd is believed to be have been due to America's Next Top Model's thirteenth season audition requirement, which in a complete turnaround of the casting requirements of its first 12 seasons, is requiring contestants be 5'7" or under.
The reason for the previous 5'7" minimum height requirement was to match "industry standards," according to The CW.
"There have been top supermodels in the past that weren't as tall as the industry demands, like fashion icon Kate Moss," Top Model host Tyra Banks had said in the season's original casting announcement. "So we are changing up Top Model for Cycle 13 and making it a year for the shorter model!"