America's top Model-guysversusgirls

Hmm, did the makers of America’s Next Top Model start reading Remote Patrolled recently?

Ha ha – of course not – but if they’d taken a read of my last Top Model posting way back in 2010 they’d have seen me calling for a Boys vs Girls season as a way to freshen up the franchise. And guess what – now they’ve just done just that. And Top Model is hot again.

Sure the show’s best ratings days are probably still behind it, but the premiere of Top Model 2.0 recently pulled in a very decent 1.55 million viewers and a 0.6 18-49 share, the show’s highest rating premiere and the CW’s biggest Friday in 2 years. Fierce.

Okay so the Guys vs Girls idea is long overdue and isn’t exactly rocker science but kudos to Top Model for finally shaking things up. The veteran Tyra Banks show, now in its 20th cycle, suddenly feels fresh again. Adding some testosterone to the mix has worked wonders.

America’s Next Top Model has always been a great franchise but in recent years the format had started to feel too familiar. Now the addition of the men has made old format elements feel fresh and added a new perspective of the modeling industry. Jeremy has one of the best bodies in the competition but has no idea how to pose and flex to best show off his muscles; snappy gay contestant Cory has beautiful features but will he be able to butch it up (an issue female models hardly have to face); and can modeling newbie Mike overcome an uncomfortable catwalk style – come to think of it – how should a male model walk? Then there are the famous Top Model makeovers. Over the years we’ve seen numerous female models reduced to tears by drastic cuts, dye jobs and weaves – now it’s the guys’ turn.

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 Adding men has of course also upped the flirtation factor, making for better reality and less trademark Top Model cattiness. And it also just makes the show feel more relevant – this is 2013 after all – we all know men are more objectified than ever before and spend more money on taking care of themselves. Plus let’s be honest, the core Top Model audience is young women and gay men so adding hot guys makes perfect sense!

But that’s now all – Top Model has a few more tricks up its sleeve this season too. The show has massively embraced social media in a way few other reality shows have. I love that contestants are now scored by judges and social media followers with photoshoot  feedback via Skype, Twitter and Facebook (I could do without annoying wannabe social media blogger Bryanboy though). Take note American Idol – this is how you incorporate social media into a show. And starting the season off with a vertical catwalk down the side of a building was a typically show-stopping move for a series that’s always been beautifully produced and inventive.

Kudos also to The CW for smartly realizing that their reality cash cow was starting to run out of steam. Limiting the show to one cycle a year is a super smart move. Top Model is a great fun summer series and I could see this Guys vs Girls idea being a strong warm weather performer for a few seasons to come. There’s a lesson to be learned here for the likes of Face Off, Project Runway and The Voice – two series a year is just way too much for viewers to take in. It kills a franchise fast.

So if you haven’t watched Top Model for a while take a look. Who knew that just a few tweaks and adjustments could make the show fashionable again! Now don’t forget to smize!