Broadly

The Timeless Appeal of Tyra Banks’ Delightfully Unhinged Talk Show

Seven years after the cancellation of 'The Tyra Banks Show', the host's stunts – which included dressing up as a homeless woman – remain pop culture treasures.

by mitchell sutherland
20 March 2017, 12:42pm

For the past two years, Tyra Banks has seemed adrift. In 2014, she was sued by former America's Next Top Model contestant Angelea Preston for breach of contract and labor law violations. A year later, a Broadly investigation questioned the dubious business practices of Tyra Beauty, a multi-level marketing scheme that encourages women to sign up to sell her cosmetics. (The lawsuit is still ongoing, and Banks later told New York magazine, "A lot of that stuff people write is a lie.") She quit her most recent TV venture—hosting a 2015 panel talk show called FABLife—after only two months on the job, so when she announced two days ago that she would return to ANTM, the show that made her a TV star, her fans rejoiced. They mostly celebrated on social media with GIFs and clips from her syndicated talk show, The Tyra Banks Show, that ran from 2005 to 2010.

Many of the talk program's most memorable moments took place a decade ago in 2007, the pop culture year where Bush doomed the economy and Britney tanked her career, and celebrity fans are nostalgic for a show whose host was less obsessed with branding and more interested in being honest, no matter how absurd that made her appear.

"It was absolutely ridiculous, and the only thing Tyra loves more than herself is doing the absolute most every chance she gets," says the blogger who runs the popular Tumblr Pop Culture Died in 2009.

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Where Williams's show is 80 percent pop culture and 20 percent lifestyle interests, Banks' talk program was split between stunts, Jerry Springer-lite specials, and celebrity interviews. She landed several huge pop culture interviews. Kim Kardashian discussed her sex tape with Banks in one of her earliest interviews. When Lauren Conrad visited the show to deny rumors that she too had shot a sex tape, Banks started the interview by holding up a paper mask of Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag and saying, "Spencer and Heidi have started a rumor about you."

Banks's one-hour confrontation with Naomi Campbell about their rivalry has topped all her scoops. She interviews Campbell without a studio audience ("It has to be just me and Naomi alone") and screams, "You called me the 'B' word!" Banks sounds over the top, but she also raises important issues about the modeling world. She and Campbell were the world's lone black supermodels in a world of blonde stick figures, and they discuss how the fashion industry pitted them against each other because they were taught to believe the industry could only handle one black model.

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