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OTRC: 'America's Next Top Model' firings: Nigel Barker not surprised

Nigel Barker, J. Alexander and Jay Manuel appear in a photo posted on Tyra Banks' official Facebook page on April 20, 2012. (Facebook.com/TyraBanks)

Tyra Banks announced on Friday that her "America's Next Top Model" team, including J. Alexander, Jay Manuel and Nigel Barker had been fired.

"Nigel Barker, Jay Manuel and J. Alexander have been an integral part of the 'America's Next Top Model' brand and they helped turn this show into the household name it is today," "ANTM" executive producers Tyra Banks and Ken Mok said in a statement. "They have been amazing assets to the show and will always be a part of the 'Top Model' family. We will continue to actively work with each of them on future projects."

The "ANTM" veterans served as the series' panel of experts. Manuel, who served as a creative consultant, and Alexander, who was the runway coach, have appeared on all 18 cycles of the CW TV reality modeling series since it began in 2003. Barker, a fashion photographer and judge, joined the series in 2004.

The trio were apparently informed that their contracts would not be renewed for the 19th cycle of the series on Thursday morning.

"To my Nigel Barker, Miss J, and Mr Jay: Thank you for all of our years together on America's Next Top Model," Banks wrote on her official Facebook page on April 20. "Working with you is always an absolute pleasure. Excited for what the future holds for us. XOXO, TyTy."

Barker told E! News that he wasn't surprised about the firing and has no hard feelings towards Tyra Banks.

"It wasn't a shock. I'm friends with Tyra and the producers...There had been a discussion that ratings were down and that something like this would happen," Barker told E! News. "There had been previous years where discussions about me being eliminated from the show had happened and I had actually survived the chopping block before."

The former male model said that he already has a few new projects in the works, including a new show and a cosmetics and skin care line for men. "We had an incredible run and there aren't any hard feelings," he continued. "This isn't a Tyra thing. This is a network thing. My contract was so exclusive that it was holding me back from other projects."

The long-running series suffered from the lowest ratings yet during the current 18th cycle, dubbed the "British Invasion," which premiered in February.

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