Yesterday it was an unsubstantiated rumor, but today, it’s official: Andre Leon Talley will leave America’s Next Top Model after this season, and Kelly Cutrone will take his place at the start of cycle 18.

A network rep confirmed the judging table change-up, and Cutrone, Talley and Top Model executive producer Ken Mok talked to People about how great they all feel about it:

“I am a huge fan of America’s Next Top Model and have watched the show for years,” says Cutrone, 45, who owns public relations, branding and marketing firm People’s Revolution. “Having worked in various aspects of the fashion industry over the course of my career, I am excited for this new opportunity and hope to bring a different perspective to the show.”

“We have greatly enjoyed working with Andre Leon Talley and he has been an amazing asset to the America’s Next Top Model family,” says Mok. “We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”

Talley echoed the warm and fuzzy sentiments, especially regarding the woman who has so far stayed silent about the change: Tyra Banks. “I had a great ride and will always consider my experience with Top Model one of the best moments of my life,” Talley told People. “Tyra is an incredible role model and I learned so much sitting next to her through four cycles.” Talley began with Top Model in 2010, after many years of persuasion from Banks.

America’s Next Top Model
has seen its share of judging table shakeups over the years. If she stays for multiple cycles, Cutrone will be the first fashion publicist to be a regular judge on the show. Besides Talley, the most prominent regular judges (besides mainstay Nigel Barker, noted fashion photographer) have all been models: Paulina Porizkova, Twiggy and Janice Dickinson. With this current all-star cycle, Top Model has shifted its focus from modeling to marketing, and Cutrone’s addition may indicate the show will continue on that path.

Catch Andre on America’s Next Top Model while you still can: The latest episode of cycle 17 airs tonight, Wednesday, September 28 at 9pm on the CW.

(Images courtesy of WENN)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.