Tyra Banks, "Dancing With the Stars"
Credit: ©Disney+/Courtesy Everett Colle

Her last dance. If you’ve heard the news of her departure, you may be wondering: Why is Tyra Banks leaving Dancing With the Stars and what is the real reason for her exit?

Banks joined Dancing With the Stars in season 29 in 2020 after she replaced the reality TV dance competition’s former host Tom Bergeron — who hosted DWTS from season 1 to season 28 — as the new face of the series. She also became an executive producer on the show. “I’ve been a fan of DWTS since its beginning … The fun mixed with raw emotion, seeing celebrities push past their comfort zones, the sizzling dance performances … it’s always transported me to my days of turning it up 10 notches on the catwalk,” Banks said in a statement at the time.

Prior to Dancing With the Stars, Banks had hosted several reality TV competitions, including America’s Got Talent, which she hosted the 12th and 13th seasons of, and America’s Next Top Model, which created and hosted 24 seasons of from 2013 to 2018. Banks went on to host Dancing With the Stars for three seasons until she announced her exit from the series in 2023. So why is Tyra Banks leaving Dancing With the Stars and what is the real reason for her exit? Read on for what we know about why Tyra Banks is leaving Dancing With the Stars and her past drama with the series.

Tyra Banks, "Dancing With the Stars"

Why is Tyra Banks leaving Dancing With the Stars?

Why is Tyra Banks leaving Dancing With the Stars? Banks announced she was leaving Dancing With the Stars in an interview with TMZ on March 17, 2023. She explained she was retiring from her role as the series’ host after three seasons to “focus” on other business opportunities. “I feel it’s really time for me to focus on my business and my entrepreneurship, and also producing more TV — but behind the scenes,” Banks said. “I think it’s time to graduate from the dance floor to the stock market floor. … from the ballroom to the boardroom!”

When asked to confirm that she was, in fact, leaving Dancing With the Stars — which she is also an executive producer on — Banks told TMZ, “Don’t you think it’s time? Yeah, I think it’s time. I’m an entrepreneur at heart. … I think my heart, my soul, is into my business, it’s also into producing new TV. … But, I really, really want to focus on my business, and you can’t do that hosting a show.”

Banks was met with mixed reviews when she replaced former host Tom Bergeron — who hosted Dancing With the Stars from season 1 to season 28  — as the new host of the series for season 29 in 2020. A source told The Sun in October 2021 that the producers on Dancing With the Stars at the time were “on edge” due to the backlash over Banks’ casting. “Tyra is a nightmare. She is disrespectful to everyone. She gives orders and makes wild demands,” the insider said. “The viewers hate Tyra, but ABC is locked with her so they are trying.” The source continued, “Last week she wore the Britney Spears pigtails, but all the producers said she looked like the horror movie doll Annabelle. They couldn’t get her to change.”

The insider also claimed to The Sun that Banks’ reported “energy, attitude and demands” turned Dancing With the Stars into a “toxic” work environment. “Tensions are high in the ballroom. Between low ratings, COVID outbreaks and constant managing of the Tyra backlash, the producers are on edge about everything,” the source said. “I wouldn’t be shocked if this is the last season.” The insider also noted Dancing With the Stars‘ decreasing ratings after Banks was hired as its host. “The ratings matter is of concern for executives,” the source said. “Sure headline makers are in there, but it just hasn’t as yet captured the public. Sometimes these things take time and other times the contestants do not resonate or connect to audiences.”

Tyra Banks, "Dancing With the Stars"

Banks’ exit also comes after she accidentally announced the wrong bottom two couples on live television in season 29, which she claimed was a mistake by production. “The world is angry at the talent, but there’s a whole control room and things happening and craziness going on,” Banks said of the moment during an appearance at the Television Critics Association press tour in August 2021. “And I’m fed certain things, say certain things that I’m told. But it is what it is.” Banks added that she felt like she had to “take darts for the team” as a result of the mistake. “I was blamed for it, and it wasn’t me,” she said. “And I think that’s very important to say.”

While Banks didn’t specify which “business” opportunities, she was leaving Dancing with the Stars, the model did sign a a first-look deal with ABC Signature — a production studio under The Walt Disney Company, the same brand that produces Dancing With the Stars — in 2020, according to Deadline. As part of the deal, Banks and her production company, Bankable Productions, will produce both scripted programming with ABC Signature and unscripted programming with ABC Entertainment. The deal also marked ABC Signature’s first major production talent agreement since it rebranded in 2020. “Ever since I was a little girl growing up in Inglewood, California, I’ve been enamored by the magic of Disney. Joining the family at ABC feels like a homecoming of sorts,” Banks said in a statement at the time. “Karey Burke, Rob Mills, Jonnie Davis and their teams are visionary leaders. My Bankable team and I are pumped to create dynamic, can’t-miss programming that is loud, splashy and spans to international shores. From dramas and docu-series to comedies and cartoons, we’re coming to your screens with a mission to entertain you and your families in the most unexpected ways.”

“Tyra’s fierce and undeniable passion has not only made her one of the biggest stars to date, it has created an incredible connection with female audiences across multiple generations,” ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke added in her own statement. “We are so excited to welcome Bankable into the family and are looking forward to collaborating with Tyra and her all-star, female-led team.”

Banks’ other recent business ventures includes the launch of her ice cream brand, SMiZE Cream, in 2021. The brand — which is named after Banks’ signature phrase smize (smiling with one’s eyes) — offered six flavors at the time of its launch: “Brownies, I Love You”, “Caramel Cookie Queen”, “Strawberry BirthYAY!” Cake”, “Purple Cookie Mon-Star & Me”, “Salted Caramel King” and “The Best Vanilla I Ever had.”

“Myself and our ice cream scientists are taking the photos that you see on social media! Literally right now,” Banks said on Women@Meredith’s #StraightTalk series in 2021. “[The] mug of pecan ice cream, that is a white mug from my house and I ordered can stickers and put them all on it myself. I mean, this is some back-in-the-day stuff, but it’s a startup.” She continued of why she wanted to create an ice cream brand, “Ice cream makes me happy. I used to bond with my mama [while eating it]. We used to go to Häagen-Dazs on Friday nights and sit in the car and I’d eat my coffee ice cream and she’d eat her chocolate and we talk about everything.”

Dancing With the Stars is available to stream on Disney Plus.

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