And you thought the onscreen catfights on America's Next Top Model were good…
New York police arrested three people following a massive stampede that erupted during a casting call for the new season of the Tyra Banks-powered reality contest—a melee that involved hundreds of people outside a Central Park hotel.
At least six people were injured, two of whom were hospitalized, in a scene that left the surrounding vicinity looking like Fashion Week meets Thunderdome and shut down the auditions.
Police said they did not immediately know what triggered the crush of bodies, but according to the New York Daily News, the combination of would-be catwalkers (all under 5-foot-7 this cycle) waiting on line for hours and a broken-down BMW proved combustible.
A fight had broken out among some of the bystanders; then, moments later, the car appeared, spewing smoke, and reportedly led to shouts that a bomb had gone off.
"The girls were running like it was 9/11 part two," 27-year-old Jennifer Brown of Brooklyn told the Daily News. "I feared for my life."
Two women and a man were arrested on disorderly conduct charges.
Banks and her fellow executive producer Ken Mok released a statement on Sunday: "We are concerned by the events that occurred Saturday afternoon in the vicinity of the New York City casting call for the next cycle of America's Next Top Model. At this time, we still don't know all the details of what happened or what triggered the incident. We appreciate the efforts of the NYPD and will assist them in any way possible in this matter."
And in an understatement, the CW said: "An altercation occurred today at a casting call for the next edition of America's Next Top Model in New York City. Representatives of The CW are working and cooperating with local authorities on the matter."
Despite upcoming tryouts in Dallas, Chicago and Los Angeles and a new season ahead after that, we're not sure Tyra & Co. can top this.
Meanwhile, the current edition of Next Top Model kicked off last week.
(Originally published March 14, 2009, at 8:49 p.m. PT)