Tyra Banks has defended her decision to fire Paulina Porizkova from U.S. reality show AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL, insisting the economic downturn necessitated the move.
Porizkova was asked to leave her job on the judging panel earlier this month (May09) after a year with the hit series.
The Czech-born star alleged she was let go for having an "ego problem" - but head judge and host Banks insists the real reason is far less scandalous.
In a joint statement, released with executive producer Ken Mok, Banks explains, "The current state of the economy has forced shows to make major budget cuts industry wide.
"America's Next Top Model is not immune to these financially challenging times. We've had to make significant cuts in every area of the production and, unfortunately, Paulina was a casualty of these cuts."
But in an interview with TVGuide.com, defiant Porizkova insists programme-makers could reduce costs - if Banks showed up to the set on time.
She says, "I shouldn't say this because this sounds bitter, but if Tyra came in on time, they would save somebody's salary. If she actually showed up on time for the judgings and they didn't have to pay a lot of overtime, they would save a lot of money."