"America's Next Top Model" drops three of its stars

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Three of the stars of “America’s Next Top Model” have been dropped from the long-running TV show, after falling ratings.

J. Alexander (L) runway coach and judge and Jay Manuel, director of photo shoots for cycle five of the UPN television reality series 'America's Next Top Model' hosted by Supermodel Tyra Banks, pose together the red carpet at the show's finale in Hollywood December 7, 2005. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Photographer Nigel Barker, runway coach J. Alexander and photo-shoot director Jay Manuel, won’t be returning when the 18th cycle of the show airs later in 2012, executive producer and former supermodel Tyra Banks said on Friday.

“To my Nigel Barker, Miss J. And Mr Jay: Thank you for all our years together on ‘America’s Next Top Model’,” Banks wrote on her Facebook page and Twitter account. “Working with you is always an absolute pleasure. Excited for what the future holds for us,” Banks wrote.

There was no information about who would replace them.

Barker, who joined the show in 2004, a year after it first launched, said he had no hard feelings and had been expecting to be dropped for some time.

“It wasn’t a shock. I’m friends with Tyra and the producers,” he told E! News in an interview. “There had been a discussion that ratings were down and that something like this would happen.”

“We had an incredible run and there aren’t any hard feelings,” Barker added.

In a blog posting titled “It’s a wrap everybody,” Manuel thanked fans for their support and said he was moving on to other projects.

“Nigel, Miss J and I had a great run, and now it’s time for us to move on,” Manuel said.

“America’s Next Top Model,” which airs on the CW channel, has lost more than half of its 2005 audience, and is currently watched by less than two million people.

Reporting By Jill Serjeant; editing by Patricia Reaney