Video: Tyra: From supermodel to media mogul

updated 9/21/2006 12:47:07 PM ET 2006-09-21T16:47:07

She’s a very good-looking one-woman money machine. Modeling, TV shows and that’s not even half of what’s in the works. Former supermodel Tyra Banks now has two hit shows that have earned her the comparison to Oprah. 

When Tyra Banks was just a supermodel, a face of Covergirl and Sports Illustrated, she earned $50,000 a day, plus $4 million annually from Victoria’s Secret.

“From day one of modeling, I knew that modeling was a means to an end”, said Banks. 

Last year the media mogul, now worth an estimated $140 million, made about $18 million. She owns 25 percent of the reality show “America’s Next Top Model” and a majority stake in her syndicated talk show. 

“I’ve been the hot model, I’ve lived that and I understand that”, said Banks. "But that’s not interesting to me right now. I want power to make change. I want to be a staple."

The "Tyra Banks Show," in its second season this fall, bucks the trend of new talk shows. Well over 70% fail. She’s a huge hit for syndicates, drawing a young audience and boosting ratings of the shows that follow her. And “America’s Next Top Model” is in its seventh season for Banks and UPN, and will be moving to the CW Network with a 2-hour special.

“Forty-five percent of the women who began watching her show had never turned into UPN before”, said Kiri Blakeley, Forbes senior reporter. " She is the one who brought an identity that they wanted to the network. They wanted to make it more female friendly. They wanted to make it more of a melting pot."

Now Banks has fourteen projects in the works. A sitcom about the runner-up of America’s Next Top Model, two fashion-based reality shows and a feature for Nickelodeon films with the producer of The Devil Wears Prada and Forrest Gump.

“It’s important for me to take care of these projects before going on to every other single thing”, said Banks. "I’ve been offered a magazine – it’s a big complement from a very strong magazine house, but it’s not time for that. I’ve been offered perfume lines and all sorts of stuff. But, I feel those markets are oversaturated."

Now as Banks considers her broad range of options her biggest advantage may be her unexpected accessibility.

“Tyra has that appeal to a very broad audience”, said Blakeley. "Not only that but she has that kind of loyalty that Oprah has, where if Tyra says this is what you might want to read or this is what you might want to buy — women do it."

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