Reality Drama. The Project Runway Debacle Update

September 30, 2008 • Lifestyle


Here is the latest on the Project Runway Lifetime vs. Bravo debacle from today’s NY Post

By Adam Buckman

Even if Harvey Weinstein comes out on the losing end of NBC Universal’s lawsuit over "Project Runway," he’ll still win.

Why? Because if The Weinstein Co., which owns and produces
"Runway," loses the suit, and NBC regains control of the show, it’s
almost a certainty it will never be back on Bravo, but would go instead
to some other NBC Universal network, most likely the biggest one, NBC

The backstory of how Weinstein’s relationship with Bravo went south
is outlined in the 42-page decision issued late last Friday by state
Supreme Court Judge Richard B. Lowe, who granted a preliminary
injunction preventing the $200 million deal between Weinstein and
Lifetime from going forward until NBC’s breach-of-contract lawsuit is
settled, either in court or out.

Production on Season 6 of "Runway" – the first that was supposed to
air on Lifetime – was continuing yesterday in LA. It got underway Sept.
16 and is expected to continue until Oct. 17 (the finale would take
place next February during Fashion Week in New York).

However, the injunction puts Lifetime’s plan to start "Runway" in
January in doubt and jeopardizes Lifetime’s plans to heavily promote
the series.

  Judge Lowe’s brief described how the relationship between Weinstein and Bravo’s management "began to sour" in mid-2006.

"Weinstein had a particular dislike for Lauren Zalaznick, the head
of Bravo, who he claimed made day-to-day production of ‘Project Runway’
difficult," the judge wrote.

In court papers, Weinstein said Zalaznick – who was promoted last
May to head of Bravo and co-owned Oxygen – "interfered" with his
company’s efforts to sign so-called "product integration" sponsors for
"Runway." Those are the advertisers whose products are featured within
the show and whose fees represent a revenue source for Weinstein Co.

Worst of all, Weinstein "resented" the way Bravo "copied" the
formula his company created for "Runway," and then adapted it for its
other reality shows such as "Top Chef" and "Shear Genius."

Whether NBC would air "Runway" on some network other than Bravo
after the settlement of the suit depends on NBC’s and Weinstein’s
ability to put the acrimony behind them.

  Meanwhile, Lifetime seems to have staked its future on a show it might never get.

Oh the dramaz!

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