Bravo’s Project Runway 2 debuts tonight

Last season’s unlikely hit Project Runway returns for a second season tonight at 10 p.m. ET. This season, there are 16 designers, although one, Daniel Franco, is a familiar face (he was the first to be told “you’re ow” last season).

This season starts with footage from the casting calls held around the country. But the 16 who got sent to New York discover that they are not the contestants; they’re semi-finalists, and they’re given two hours to prepare an outfit they’ve been working on for judging. Two will go home immediately, leaving just 14 contestants. While the dress-making provides the show’s center, there’s also plenty of drama from the non-competition parts, such as the designer who tells another, “I don’t believe in fair”–because the other designer simply wanted to share closet space. If you can’t wait until tonight, the show’s site has a preview clip.

How did the series become a hit? In addition to focusing on fashion and talent, the network had a peculiar strategy for airing the show. Bravo’s president, Lauren Zalaznick, tells the New York Times, “The worse it did, the more I played it.” She said she knew that, “If people can just see this show, they’re going to fall in love with it.” They did.

Project Runway 2 [Bravo]
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Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 37, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.