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Project Runway gets new producers for Lifetime

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 29th 2008 5:16PM
Tim Gunn and Heidi - ProjectA couple of months ago, I interviewed Lifetime president of entertainment Susanne Daniels for TV Week, asking her about Project Runway jumping from Bravo to her network.

"We know for certain that Heidi (Klum) and Tim (Gunn) are returning. We would love to see the judges back, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia...but we're working on that," she said.

She went on to say that the show will look and feel very much like it did on Bravo; it will be airing in the same time slot, the same day of the week. And she secured Kors and Garcia, so the four important Project Runway principals all will be in place.

Now comes word that in an effort to keep Project Runway as much a hit on Lifetime as it's been on Bravo, Lifetime is bringing in the veteran production team Bunim-Murray to take over as showrunners.

Bunim-Murray have done 21 seasons of The Real World, and currently they're doing two shows of E!, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Living Lohan.

There's a sound reason for a change in producers. Magical Elves and the Weinsteins have inked a production deal with NBC Universal, Lifetime's competitors. The producers tried in vain to stop Lifetime from poaching Project Runway, which meant that Lifetime had to to find new handlers.

Fortunately, they've turned to very experienced producers, so I'm thinking that the show is going to look and feel very much the same. If there's any change, it may be in emphasizing more of the personality clashes between the contestants. That's always been The Real World formula, and that's fine with me.

Season five of Project, in which Cristian Soriano emerged as the winner -- and a fierce competitor -- lacked some of the fireworks from previous seasons. Remember evil Wendy Pepper? Arrogant Jeffrey Sebelia? Smart-ass Jay McCarroll? Wildcard Santino Rice? Those are the kind of characters that make Project Runway more interesting for me because I'm not a fashionista.

Anyway, we won't be seeing the Lifetime edition until next November. The final Bravo run of Project Runway commences July 16, with Magical Elves and Weinstein at the helm.

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emphasizing more of the personality clashes between the contestants.

September 21 2008 at 6:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am going to savor this last season of PR on Bravo because I really think Lifetime is going to ruin it.

June 30 2008 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is terrible news. Bunim-Murray is responsible for most of the sleaziest crap on TV. I wonder how long Tim and Heidi will stay, once the criteria for designer selection change from talent and personality to alcoholism and the potential for sociopathic behavior.

June 30 2008 at 10:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm starting to fear the changeover more and more every day... and this is one of the reasons.

June 30 2008 at 8:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tv junkie

i think the change of production team from Magical Elves, the mind behind "Project Greenlight" and "Top Chef" to Bunim-Murray, the criminal team behind "... the Kardashians" and "Living Lohan" is a huge downgrade to "Project Runway."
Does Lifetime realize that there's a difference between "competition" reality show and "pathetic lowlife on-screen drama" reality show???
So are we going to see the designers hanging out in hot tub, drinking and bitching, other than working on their designs? I hope we don't have to say "auf wiedersehen" to the Project Runway we know and love.

June 29 2008 at 6:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to tv junkie's comment

Hasn't that how it has been the last two seasons? it's just bitching and more bitching from talentless hacks.

June 29 2008 at 8:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow--that's a pretty harsh critique. If anything, it seems to me that the level of talent has increased, as it has on Top Chef. Not only are the designers talented craftspeople, they are able to articulate an artistic vision and follow through on it.

I fear for the future, yes, but name a reality show (or any show, for that matter) that has gotten consistently better over time.

June 30 2008 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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