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Tyra Banks is used to

Jan 9, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Tyra Banks is used to having people wonder what she brings to the table when it comes to developing new projects.

The supermodel faced such doubts when she first conceived of the idea for her reality series “America’s Next Top Model,” which recently concluded its third run of new shows on UPN. When her agent told her the idea would never work, she ignored the advice, found an interested producer and got very involved, not only hosting but also producing a show that has helped the struggling network build a new beachhead among younger female viewers.

For 2005 Ms. Banks is hard at work taking that success with young women to syndication. Despite her track record with “Model” and her frequent appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” people are wondering whether she has the goods to conquer daytime talk, a crowded market that tends to embrace plainer-looking hosts, not gorgeous supermodels.

“Every time I do something I tend to get that question,” Ms. Banks said, pointing not only to her success in prime time but also to the creation of her summer camp, T-Zone, which helps empower young women and teaches them leadership skills.

Jim Paratore, president of Telepictures Productions and executive VP of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, said Ms. Banks’ production talent and her experience as a trained crisis counselor make her a natural to host a talk show geared toward young women.

“When you really look at her, she defies expectations,” he said. “She’s a very real, relatable, open person. And she’s a hands-on producer. She will be the driver of this show as well.”

Ms. Banks said Telepictures was the studio to develop with because its executives shared her vision for the show. “They understood my sentiment, my humor, my audience, and I thought, `This is it,”‘ she said.

But Ms. Banks said she has realistic goals and a very specific audience in mind for her new venture, details that are crucial for anyone hoping to succeed in the talk genre.

“Nothing is truly original,” she said, “it’s just your twist or take. There is a void right now for a talk show headed by someone of my generation. With my show, I see the [presentation] tape, and, down to the set, I haven’t seen it done how we’re doing it. And I hope that will pay off.”