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Published: April 14, 2008 at 07:28 AM GMT
Last Updated: April 15, 2008 at 07:28 AM GMT
Heading into Lifetime's press lunch, I knew the recent and sudden acquisition of Project Runway, the hit fashion design competition series, would be the biggest topic of discussion. Personally, I didn't want to believe it. The thought that one of my favorite shows might migrate from Bravo to Lifetime and heaven forbid, change, made me uneasy. But Harvey Weinstein, Tim Gunn and a recorded message from Heidi Klum sought to squelch any fears about the integrity of the show.
Harvey Weinstein was quick to tell the room of journalists that Project Runway's move from Bravo to Lifetime would double the audience. "It will give us incredible potential to do the things that we want to do with the show" he said, "to grow the show, to make the show bigger, better and still keep the idealism of the show that won the Peabody Award, the first reality show that ever did."
Weinstein mentioned what he'll have you believe as just a smidge of controversy in the judge’s panel. Tim and Heidi seem to be on board with Lifetime but what about Heidi’s fellow judges, former Elle Fashion Director, Nina Garcia and American fashion designer, Michael Kors? Weinstein said, "I guess there’s a little controversy there. Right now I'm trying to figure out with Elle magazine, what's going on." Weinstein quickly followed with "The show will be the same, only better." It was reported by Women's Wear Daily that Garcia may be considering a consulting role with Elle following her recent termination as the magazine's Fashion Director.
Weinstein also gave a brief and widely unknown background of Project Runway. The show's concept began with an idea from Daniella Unruh, a model friend of Weinstein's. "At the time I was doing Project Greenlight" he said. "And so the idea to me was not to do it about the models. I always saw designers as the first directors." Tim Gunn later shared that he never expected to be a personality on the show. His initial role was as a consultant. Because producers feared that the designers would be too wrapped up in their challenges to have any dialogue, they sent Gunn in to spark conversation. "I have to tell you, in all honesty," Gunn said, " I thought I would never be on the show. I thought they could just snip me out." But the show launched Gunn into stardom. In 2007, Gunn hosted his own makeover show titled Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style and coauthored Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style with Kate Moloney. His catchphrases "Make it work!" and "Carry on!" are a favorite among Project Runway loyalists. In closing, he said to the assembled press, "With Lifetime, we’re going to make it work!"
Heidi Klum's recorded message was cheeky and optimistic. "You’ve probably heard me say this a few times. One day you’re in and the next day, you’re out. And you know what, Lifetime is definitely in." Does this mean Bravo is "out?"
Weinstein mentioned a new series he is developing for Lifetime titled Project Pygmalion, (Weinstein obviously likes series with the word “project” in the title) which is in production for 2009. He described the series as "Sort of My Fair Lady and finding the next My Fair Lady, the next Pygmalion, transforming somebody’s life." He said it will be the first of the many things that he’ll be doing for Lifetime.
Last week, NBC and Bravo filed a suit against The Weinstein Co. for moving Project Runway from Bravo. Weinstein asserted that NBC President and Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Zucker, has been a friend of his for many years and joked that after three years of servitude of cleaning Zucker’s house and babysitting his kids, among other chores, that they could become friends again. "And In my next life," he said "and in the years that I want to be single and have fun again, I want to be Ben Silverman."
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