A courtroom catwalk cat-fight erupted today when Bravo abruptly has lost control of its biggest hit - "Project Runway" - which will now begin airing on arch-rival, Lifetime, in November. The change of venue appears to be the result of a deal gone sour between the show's producers, the Weinstein Company and Bravo. The move also appears to have caught Bravo executives by surprise. As news of the network shift spread today, Bravo owner NBC Universal slapped the Weinstein Company with a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court aiming to block the new deal. Weinstein officials said that NBC had filed the suit after "declining to compete for the right to have 'Project Runway'..." and the legal action was simply, NBC trying to "disrupt the series moving to Lifetime." "We believe this lawsuit is without merit," Weinstein council, David Boies said in a statement. "While good for the market for lawyers, it is always unfortunate when parties try to win in court what they lost in the marketplace."
Speaking to Variety, Andrea Wong, president of Lifetime, had this to say about the new deal:
"'Project Runway' is one of the best television programs on the air today on broadcast or cable. I am a huge fan. All my friends are huge fans. Having watercooler movies, dramas, and reality shows like 'Project Runway' is what Lifetime Television is all about. We welcome The Weinstein Company, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn to the Lifetime family for many walks down the runway to come."
LOL ... what she prolly really meant to say was:
"OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG WE GOT PROJECT RUNWAY! OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG"
And the Weinstein company has this to say about their new network:
"[H]aving Lifetime's unique cable reach will ensure that the show will continue to grow and expand in the years to come. Lifetime is one of the strongest cable networks in the industry, with great leadership and a true commitment to original programming. We are very excited for the many new opportunities that will now be provided to 'Runway' and its fans and look forward to premiering the sixth season in November 2008.
Apparently, Bravo will still air season 5 of Project Runway ... but that will happen in July ... Lifetime is planning to air its first season of PR in November. This means there will be 3 seasons of Project Runway airing in this year alone. Wow! What a huge boon for Lifetime! They prolly thought Your Mama Can't Dance would be their biggest hit this year (closely followed by endless reruns of The Golden Girls) ... it looks like Lifetime's stock has just gone up significantly. Bravo really dropped the ball on this one ... they prolly thought they could play hardball with the Weinstein's and just learned a horrible lesson. No word on what this development means for the look and feel of the show overall but if Lifetime is smart, they won't change a thing. This is sew huge. [Source, Source]