If 'America's Next Top Model' Returns, It Could Come With Some Major Changes


America's Next Top Model comes to a close this week as it reaches the finale of Season 24 — yes, 24. The final four models —Kyla, Khrystyana, Shanice, and Jeana battle it out in Tuesday's final showdown, and after that, viewers must say goodbye to their main source of "smizing" instruction and await a new season. So when does America's Next Top Model come back for Season 25?

Right now, there doesn't seem to be any news regarding a renewal or a possible return date. That doesn't necessarily mean anything good or bad — the details of a new season might still just be in the works. But it is worth noting that by March of last year, the series had already been renewed, according to a 2017 Deadline report, so the show is running a bit behind the pace set for Season 24. America's Next Top Model has also bounced between networks and even switched up their hosts in recent years as iconic ANTM staple Tyra Banks put hosting on the back burner to focus on other areas of her life. But, this season showed Banks' return, and a slew of other changes, so the production certainly seems like it'd be on track to continue if it's given the green light.

The first 22 seasons of ANTM ran on the CW and UPN before being canceled in 2015, according to Variety, but was then picked up by VH1. Banks didn't initially host the VH1 revival — that post was taken up by Rita Ora — but she remained involved in the production in other ways, the same Variety report details. And, for Season 24, Banks was back in action in her old role. As Banks stepped back in front of the camera once again, she announced that she was doing away with the stipulation that ANTM contestants needed to be 27 years old or younger, opening the door for models older than that to try their hand in the competition. "You know what I hear all the time? 'Tyra, come on! Why have an age limit?' So, you know what? I’m taking that age limit off," Banks said in a video announcement, according to Deadline. "You want to audition for America’s Next Top Model? I don’t care how old you are, honey. You just need to know how to smize and be open to learning how to work the runway like a supermodel."

The show also brought back noted fashion photographer, Nigel Barker, who left the show years ago after being a longtime figure on the judging panel. Though it was just for an episode, that throwback nodded to the nostalgia of longtime viewers, and also led Barker to say that he wouldn't be opposed to coming back full-time, along with his former co-stars Jay Manuel and J. Alexander. "I see the Jays on a regular basis. We hang out at least four or five times a year. Whenever we do, [the idea of returning to the show] pops up," Barker told Entertainment Weekly in another article following his stint onscreen this season. "Tyra talked about it with me when I was filming this last episode. So did Ken. But the stars have to align. Everyone’s very busy and got different careers now and have moved on. We’d certainly do it and entertain it for old time’s sake and for the fans, whom we all adore and appreciate."

This season also featured a crossover episode with RuPaul's Drag Race, and brought back the good old "na-na" theme song riff for the opening credits that viewers know and love. Banks also said that Season 24 was meant to house the most diverse group of contestants yet. "I’m always trying to break the mold of what’s considered beautiful," she told Entertainment Weekly. "You’ll see different types of girls that you haven’t seen before on Top Model, in terms of ­physicality."

And that was true to some extent, though despite all the diversity, the cast remained very much supermodel pretty. The changes and nods to the past do show, though, that perhaps ANTM realizes its format on its own isn't going to be enough to sustain interest. The program has faced its fair share of criticism in the past for what some claim is harmful competition, and also its sometimes lack of awareness when it comes to racial issues. But it keeps plugging along, evolving and hopefully learning as it does. Though no one can say for sure yet if or when America's Next Top Model will come back to fans' screens, it's clear that showrunners aren't afraid to shake things up to stay relevant, and they'll likely do the same in any potential Season 25.