Jay Manuel, J. Alexander and Nigel Barker dish on 'Top Model' departures
TORONTO -- Canadian fashion guru Jay Manuel is stamping out rumours that he and fellow "America's Next Top Model" cast members Nigel Barker and J. Alexander were fired.
In an interview on CNN's "Showbiz Tonight" Monday, Manuel said it was a case of their contracts on the CW reality show expiring and not being renewed.
"That's the thing that people don't know, and the show was at a point where they had to make a change," Manuel said.
"It's not a huge surprise to us. They just didn't do new contracts with us, so we weren't really fired for doing something wrong."
Last Friday, the Toronto-raised Manuel announced on his blog that after 18 seasons of being a creative director on the show he would not be returning.
Barker, a photographer, and Alexander, a runway coach, are also leaving the Tyra Banks-hosted show, which has been declining in the ratings.
Fans have expressed shock and disappointment over the trio's departure online -- sentiments which are also shared by Barker.
"I think more than anything I feel a little sad in as much as I had an incredible time, it defined a decade for myself," Barker said in the CNN interview.
Barker also said the news "was a bit of a shock" but added: "I'd had inklings about it, and certainly over the years I'd been warned that perhaps I might be replaced."
Alexander said he's made peace with the news. "I think it's time that we actually just kind of go on. It's very difficult for the fans, of course."