The CW reveals the identities of 'America's Next Top Model 9' girls
By Steve Rogers, 08/23/2007
The CW has revealed the identities of the wannabe models that will be strutting the runway on this fall's ninth season of America's Next Top Model.
Like the show's last four editions, Top Model 9 will feature 13 girls (one girl fewer than the franchise-record 14 contestants Top Model's third and fourth seasons featured) and a judging panel comprised of show creator Tyra Banks, supermodel Twiggy, photographer Nigel Barker, and runway expert J. Alexander.
As in previous seasons, Top Model 9 will also feature additional special guest judges. Art director Jay Manuel -- who served as the host for this summer's recently-concluded second season of the show's Canada's Next Top Model adaptation -- will also return for Top Model's ninth season.
Top Model 9's cast ranges in age between 18 and 22 and includes nine students. The ninth-season cast is also unusually Northeast-focused -- four of the finalists are from Connecticut or Massachusetts, and two more are from New York and New Jersey. Rounding out the cast are two girls from Texas and five other girls from California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Indiana.
Unlike the show's last several seasons, Top Model 9 will not debut with a special two-hour broadcast. Instead, due to The CW's decision move the previously-announced September 26 premiere of its new Gossip Girl drama up a week, Top Model 9 will now premiere with a one-hour broadcast that will air on Wednesday, September 19 at 8PM ET/PT.
(Gossip Girl -- a teen drama that is being produced by The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz and narrated by former Veronica Mars star Kristen Bell -- has apparently begun generating enough buzz that the network decided it didn't want to have to wait an extra week for the show to begin to serve as Top Model's new Wednesdays at 9PM ET/PT lead-out.)
Due to the change to a one-hour premiere format, Top Model 9's September 19 broadcast will not end with the elimination of the competition's first finalist. Instead, the premiere will only chronicle the semifinals casting process that has traditionally comprised the first hour of Top Model's two-hour season premieres and will conclude with the judges selecting the ninth season's 13 finalists.
As the show has done since Top Model 4, Top Model 9's girls lived in a posh Los Angeles mansion during the already-filmed show's production. The ninth edition's winner will receive the same prize package that was first introduced in last fall's Top Model 7 -- a management deal with Elite Model Management, a $100,000 contract with cosmetics company CoverGirl, and a cover story and six-page fashion spread in an issue of Seventeen magazine.
Back in May, Banks had teased that Top Model 9 would represent "a whole rebirth of Top Model that I can't talk about right now," however no subsequent "rebirth" plans were ever announced by The CW. The network confimed that Top Model 9 will not feature any significant format changes when contacted by Reality TV World on Thursday.
According to Top Model's The CW publicist, Banks was likely referring to then-undisclosed plans to move the show back to New York City -- a move that last month, the network announced will occur beginning with the show's tenth season -- when she made her "rebirth" statement.