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Denied! Bravo Prevents Project Runway Takeoff

Project Runway Judges Barbara Nitke/BRAVO

As Heidi Klum says, in the world of fashion one day you're in, the next you're out. Lifetime is learning that lesson the hard way.

A judge has granted NBC Universal a preliminary injunction that prevents the Weinstein Co. from moving Project Runway from NBCU-owned Bravo to Lifetime next year.

"NBC Universal is pleased that the court granted our motion for a preliminary injunction against the Weinstein Company," the media powerhouse said in a statement.

"The overwhelming evidence demonstrated that the Weinstein Company violated NBC Universal's right of first refusal to future cycles of Project Runway. After hearing all of the evidence, the court issued an order prohibiting the Weinstein Company from taking the show or any spinoff to Lifetime."

"We are disappointed with the court's decision to grant the preliminary injunction against the Weinstein Company.," Lifetime said in response to the ruling.

"It's unfortunate that the people hurt most by this ongoing dispute are the loyal fans of Project Runway. In the meantime, Lifetime will pursue all measures to uphold its valid and binding agreement reached with the Weinstein Company for Season 6 of Project Runway."

The brothers Weinstein, who have stood by the legitimacy of their actions, said in a statement that they will "obviously" appeal the ruling.

"We are glad that the court held that NBC Universal cannot exhibit the program on Bravo and that court required NBC Universal to post a minimum $20 million bond. Obviously we will be appealing and remain committed to our partners," the Weinstein Co. said.

NBCU insists that the producers were contractually obligated to give Bravo right of refusal before shopping the show and any spin-offs to other networks.

A motion to dismiss NBCU's breach-of-contract suit was also denied. A conference has been set for Oct. 15 to schedule a hearing to start fast-tracking the proceedings.

"While it appears that resting Project Runway for a period of time will not cause harm to the show, the court must ensure that is not off the air for an excessive period of time,” stated the injunction order obtained by Television Week.

“Therefore, because this court finds that plaintiffs have also established a balancing of the equities in its favor, the court will enjoined Lifetime from promotion, marketing and exhibition of future cycles of Project Runway. However, this matter will be put on a schedule such that the issues will be resolved through expedited proceedings."

Lifetime had initially planned to roll out the sixth cycle of Runway in November, but recently announced the premiere would be pushed back to January. Nonetheless, production had already begun, the designers chosen and the first guest judge, Lindsay Lohan, booked.

Meanwhile, season five is down to four designers, three of whom will be picked to show collections at Bryant Park (which they've already done, in real life, during New York Fashion Week). The finale airs Oct. 15, although whether it also marks Project Runway's final auf wiedersehen to Bravo now remains to be seen.

(Originally published Sept. 26, 2008 at 3:05 p.m. PT)

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