September 21. Talk show host Tyra Banks has consistently said that she wants be the next Oprah Winfrey. And that has the CW Network nervous. MediaTakeOut.com has learned that executives at the new CW Network are worried that Tyra is putting on too much weight.
A producer for the CW network told MediaTakeOut.com that Tyra has been instructed to lose weight immediately. According to our source, "Tyra still looks good, but she's put on close to 50 pounds since starting her talk show ... things are really getting out of control." Our source continued, "I mean, she doesn't have the greatest personality, so if she starts getting too heavy, it could be a real problem for the show."
But the bigger problem, tells our source, is with Tyra and America's Next Top Model. The producer tells MediaTakeOut.com that if Tyra doesn't lose weight, she may not return next season. Our tipster explains, producers were not happy with the way Tyra looked this season. Adding, "when you see [Tyra] next to the girls on the show, you realize how much weight she's put on ... it's almost ridiculous."
And the pressure by her network bosses has already caused Tyra to back down on a pledge she made to fans. MediaTakeOut.com has discovered that promo photos for ANTM were photoshopped in order to make Tyra look slimmer. This goes directly against the supermodel's promise not to have photos of her digitally enhanced. When she announced the promise, Tyra told reporters, "Modeling is an unreal business, but I wants to make it more real."
Representatives for Tyra were not available for comment.
Akon Loves Da SeXXX
Today my homegirl and co-worker, Hot 97 host Angie Martinez spoke to Akon about relationships. Akon, who recently released a single with Eminem, explained that as an African (Ak' is from a very prominent music family in Senegal) he believes in polygamy.
His father had four wives, all of whom he considers "Mom". It also turns out that Akon has taken up a Senegalese lifestyle here, because after a little hesitation, the singer-producer admitted that he has his own multi-monogamous household going down in the ATL!
For more details about Akon and his multiple wives, listen to the Miss Info Celebrity Drama Podcast.
Like Sunshine Anderson Said--You Gets No Love From Me
*The new CW spent the last quarter of the summer promoting its fall programming under a slogan entitled, “Free to Be.” But billboard and bus-placard campaign ads seemed to have left out “Girlfreinds,” leaving its creator, Mara Brock Akil, a little peeved.
The sitcom premiered last night at 8, but without the same promotional push given other CW programs such as “Everybody Hates Chris,” “America’s Next Top Model,” “Gilmore Girls” and “Veronica Mars.”
"'Girlfriends' has never had a billboard, even though more times than not we've been the No. 1 show in black households," Akil told the LA Times' Greg Braxton. She continued: "That's not right. If I meet this challenge, even though our numbers may be small, I will consider them double what they are, because we would have done it without marketing support. I know it's the reality of the business, but I don't like it."
Responding to Akil's comments, a network spokesman said, "When you're launching a new network, there are countless marketing priorities, including an overall branding campaign, which featured every show on the CW. 'Girlfriends' is one of those shows, and we are very proud that it's anchoring our new Sunday night as the most-watched program on television by African Americans since it premiered in 2000."
Akil’s concerns for “Girlfriends” began when she first heard it "was moving from the Monday night slot where we've worked so hard to build an audience,” she told the newspaper. “I know [CW Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff's] financial purse is tight, but to move us without a billboard around town when we're going into our seventh season doesn't make me happy. Will our fans know we're on, or when?"
Akil has also had to deal with the sudden departure of Jill Marie Jones, who played real estate agent Toni before deciding to exit the show following last season over reported contract issues.
At the end of last season, Toni had a falling out with best friend Joan, played by Tracee Ellis Ross. Jones’s departure, and her refusal to come back for a farewell appearance, has forced Akil to get creative with the storylines.
"I would love for her to come back, but Jill doesn't want to return,” says Akil. “I don't know 100% why she made this decision. She didn't tell me. All she said when we talked was that she felt it was time for her to move on. The door is not closed. We've asked her to come back and have offered different ways for her to return. But I completely wish her well. There's no drama involved."
"Girlfriends" will now deal with Toni's loss through Joan's struggles, said Akil. "We're going to show what it's like to lose a best friend and not have that last conversation to say goodbye."