Weinstein Co. moved Runway to Lifetime in part due to its irritatation over Bravo’s copying of the format

Project Runway‘s shocking defection to Lifetime was prompted in part due to its producers discontent with Bravo’s carbon copying of the format the show pioneered.

The effect of that move, unless NBC Universal’s lawsuit changes things, is that the show will air three seasons this year, which is unprecedented. Season four concluded last month, and Project Runway 5 is casting will tape in June and debut during the summer, concluding after Fashion Week in the fall, similar to season three’s schedule. It’s unclear when Project Runway 6 would tape, but Lifetime intends to debut it in November. That’s possible because the show’s owner “[The Weinstein Company] asked Bravo to launch the season in July, rather than in the fall. NBC/Bravo said it agreed to do so in a concession to the Weinsteins,” Variety reports.

As to the network change, anonymous sources told Broadcasting & Cable that “Weinstein was dissatisfied, in part, that Bravo spawned several competition reality shows that were very similar to Runway, thereby diluting the uniqueness of the show, these sources said.” In addition, “Weinstein had been looking around for another network for a while and that NBCU had the power to bid for Runway and did not.”

In the lawsuit, “[NBC Universal] cited a license agreement giving Bravo the right to the first five cycles and said it had first right of refusal for Runway and any possible spinoffs. Bravo, per the suit, has paid Weinstein ‘many millions of dollars in exchange for these exclusive rights’ and alleged that Weinstein is violating its right of first refusal by going to Lifetime and that it ‘engaged in deception’ to do so,” according to Broadcasting & Cable.

An anonymous NBC Universal insider told Variety, “They never told us they signed a deal with anyone. They knew we believed we had a legal right to a first refusal to any competitive deal they did. We’re asking for what we’re entitled for, to be offered the right to match (Lifetime’s deal). They had a legal obligation to bring a signed deal from a competitor to us. But they concealed the fact that they’d reached a deal.”

That person said Lifetime has “been sold stolen goods.”

‘Project Runway’ makes a move [Variety]
UPDATED: Bravo’s Project Runway to Lifetime Television; NBCU Sues [Broadcasting & Cable]

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about the writer

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, 36, 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.