Project Runway Finally Sews Up TV Return

Weinstein Co., NBC Universal and Lifetime reach deal for reality hit's long-pending sixth season to hit the airwaves

By Gina Serpe Apr 01, 2009 10:46 PMTags
Project Runway, Michael Kors, Heidi Klum, Nina GarciaThomas Concordia/Getty Images

One day you're in, the next you're out. Luckily for Lifetime, it works the other way around, too.

After far too many months of empty DVRs for the Project Runway-watching faithful, the battling parties holding up the return of the hit reality series have finally found a way to make it work.

"NBC Universal, the Weinstein Company and Lifetime have resolved their disputes," reads a statement from NBC Universal.

"The Weinstein Company will pay NBCU for the right to move Project Runway to Lifetime. All of the parties are pleased with the outcome."

None more so than the sartorial-loving viewers who have been deprived of Runway for nigh on six months—an eternity in both the fashion and television worlds.

The already-completed Los Angeles-set sixth season, featuring stars Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, will begin airing this summer.

The deal guarantees that Project Runway will remain on Lifetime for the next five years and paves the way for the show's spinoff series, Models of the Runway, to begin airing as well.

"I want to personally congratulate Jeff Zucker and NBCU on their success in the litigation and thank Jeff for resolving this in a professional manner," Runway executive producer Harvey Weinstein said.

"We look forward to working together on our ongoing projects."

Lifetime originally planned to roll out the new cycle back in November, a month after Bravo said auf wiedersehen to the series by crowning fifth-season winner Leanne Marshall.

However, legal complications—injunctions, motions to dismiss, you name it—pushed back the season's debut date to January, which also came and went.

So confident that the show would, in Gunn's words, carry on, producers relented and allowed the season's three finalists, originally expected to show their final collections last fall, to send their designs down the runway during New York Fashion Week at Bryant Park back in February. To keep what suspense remained in tact, the designers' identities were kept secret and they never appeared onstage.

"All of us at Lifetime are thrilled to move forward with Heidi, Tim, Nina, Michael, the Weinstein Company and the entire Project Runway team," Lifetime CEO Andrea Wong said.

"I couldn't be more excited that Lifetime will bring its viewers an amazing, all-new season of Project Runway this summer."

Christina Aguilera, Eva Longoria Parker and Rebecca Romijn have already filmed guest judge spots for the season.

Last fall, Lifetime said that, once back on air, the show was expected to resume its pre-network-jumping schedule of two seasons per year.

(Originally published April 1, 2009, at 1:48 p.m. PT)