Reader Submission: Tyra Banks Gave Up On The “FABLife” Too Soon
By Jewel Benton
After two months, Tyra Banks has announced that she will minimize her time on her talk show, “Tyra Presents FABLife,” although she has yet to address the news on-air. Banks told The Hollywood Reporter that she will remain an executive producer for the series through December, but will focus on her cosmetics line, TYRA Beauty, and other projects.
In the midst of low ratings, cancellation rumors, and online scrutiny, Banks’ departure isn’t super shocking. At one point she was absent for almost two weeks, but continued to promote her ending series, “America’s Next Top Model,” Cycle 22 on social media. Hopefully Banks is not stepping down because the show is not doing as well as she expected, otherwise it looks like she just gave up. While it might seem like she is making a smart business move, it is not smart to abandon a business just because it is not an instant success.
Banks choosing to dedicate more of her time to TYRA Beauty because of its sudden expansion shows that she believes it is worth the investment. In 2012, she completed a nine-week program at Harvard Business School, which she says helped her develop her cosmetics line. She announced the beauty company last year and promoted it on the Home Shopping Network (HSN.) Needless to say, TYRA Beauty’s journey has been longer than two months. It is doubtful that Banks would have reduced her involvement with FABLife if the ratings were high and the feedback was mostly positive.
The FABLife, which stands for Fun and Beautiful, has received tough criticism from the always talkative cyber community when discussed. People have called it boring and said there is a lack of chemistry between the other panelists (Chrissy Teigen, Joe Zee, Lauren Makk, and Leah Ashley.) There were also rumors about a feud between Banks and Teigen that began before the FABLife aired. Teigen recently debunked this on Twitter, writing, “I dunno if you guys know how bosses work,” she said, “but if Tyra and I were fighting as hard as you’re saying, I would be the one off the show.”
The biggest target of critics was often Banks herself. The former supermodel has been harshly criticized as a host since the days of her first daytime series, “The Tyra Banks Show” (2005-2010.) She was accused of talking over her guests, “trying too hard” to be relatable, and being self-absorbed. One can only imagine how her presence on the FABLife was received, seeing as she usually sits and stands in the middle of her co-stars in the beginning and end of the episodes. The “self-absorbed” perception of Banks is what caused some of the masses to avoid tuning into the FABLife to begin with.
But a bigger explanation for why not enough people have tuned into the FABLife is likely because many didn’t even know about it. In addition to message board users, people outside of the Internet that I’ve spoken with didn’t even know the show existed. It’s not enough to be on a primetime network, more promotion and advertising is needed. Even now, many are only discovering the ABC program because they heard Banks is quitting.
Despite the naysayers of both Banks and her shows, the woman has good intentions. She uses her platform to promote positivity for women. Her original talk show confronted societal issues that women and young girls face such as body image, self-esteem, racism and stereotypes, bullying, and teen pregnancy. This was also the series where Banks famously invited former rival, Naomi Campbell, to set aside their differences. Like its predecessor, FABLife’s mission is to have a female-power theme.
“Tyra is an enormous and vibrant talent with widespread appeal and we’re eager to introduce her new lifestyle show that will incorporate her personal message of self-confidence to the syndication marketplace,” Disney-ABC Domestic Television president Janice Marinelli said last May when the show was announced.
The FABLife is not perfect. But it is a program that is designed to uplift women who are either on or watching the screen. They cover everything from food, fashion, beauty, business/finances, and clever “Do it Yourself (D.I.Y.)” ideas to informative segments like “How Dirty is Your Purse?” They also give exposure to upcoming talent like 18-year-old fashion designer Kyemah McEntyre, who is known for designing actress Naturi Naughton’s gown at the BET Awards.
The chemistry on the show might only be slightly off now because of the elephant in the room, other than that the panelists seem very comfortable around each other and interact off set. There are a few things they can do to improve. They can discuss more personal topics (their highest-rated moment is when Banks and Teigen discussed starting a family in the beginning of the season), and create a signature (“The Real” has a few signatures, most notably their “spin the heel.”) The most unique aspect about the FABLife is that the co-hosts are often present in every segment. Another suggestion is to include more celebrity guests.
Time will allow growth, which will allow the “FABLife” to improve. Wendy Williams was stiff during the trial run of her talk show and the show has gone on to become very successful, so much so that it recently scored another seven years through its Lionsgate deal. Tyra should’ve stuck it out.
Jewel Benton has loved writing since her childhood. A recent college graduate, she now holds a B.A. in Journalism and is currently freelancing.