The XX Factor

Why It’s a Mistake for Tyra to Ditch Her Talk Show

Tyra Banks announced today that the current season of her talk show will be her last. She wants to produce movies, she tells . To any student of Tyraology this seems like an idiotic plan. Her talk show is currently the most succesful part of her media empire. Her other main gig-as host and creator of America’s Next Top Model -is on the decline, as ratings were down 10 percent in the most recent cycle and the show is no longer as culturally relevant as it was just a few years ago. Despite the fact that Tyra is a lunatic and an egomaniac, her show has a sort of bizarre appeal, and millions of young women look up to her as a role model. Her major assest is her own persona, so why would she bury it by producing movies meant to bring “positive images of women to the big screen”?

My old Jezebel colleague Tracie thinks that Tyra is ditching her talk show because Oprah’s ditching her talk show, and Ty Ty’s business model is all about following in the footsteps of Oprah. But, if Tyra-who is many things, among them shrewd-thought about it for a second, she wouldn’t follow the big O down this primrose path. Oprah’s movies have not been particularly succesful, because Oprah’s appeal, like Tyra’s appeal, is herself. So even if Oprah is in the movies she produces, like the flop Beloved , no one wants to see them, because they don’t want to see Oprah playing a fictional character. Even though Oprah can get scads of women to buy scented candles, she can’t entice them to see her films. Tyra should take note of this and continue her talk show. Because there are lots of people who can produce mediocre films, but who else is going to ask primordial dwarves to breakdance?

Photograph of Tyra Banks by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.