Magical Elves quit Project Runway, sign first-look deal with NBC Universal, and may create a new fashion show for Bravo

Magical Elves, the company behind Project Runway, will not produce the show when it moves to Lifetime for its sixth season. In addition, they have signed a first-look deal with NBC Universal that means they’ll pitch all of their projects to NBC’s channels.

Company founders and executive producers “Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz confirmed they will not follow the hit series when it moves to Lifetime,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Earlier today, NBC announced that the company signed an “exclusive overall first look deal” that “provides NBC Universal’s broadcast, all cable (Bravo, Oxygen, Sci-Fi and USA) digital and wireless properties an exclusive first look on all projects developed by Cutforth and Lipsitz. It also provides opportunities for Magical Elves to work on projects developed by the NBC Universal properties.”

That deal did not impact their decision to leave Runway, they said. “The two decisions were made independent of each other. We have a long-standing relationship with NBC. While ‘Runway’ has been wonderful for us and our company, it’s not a show we own or have any control over. We found ourselves at a crossroads when we found out it wasn’t going to be at Bravo,” Cutforth told THR.

Essentially, this represents round two in Bravo versus Lifetime: Bravo/NBC Universal screwed up and/or got screwed by losing its marquee show, and now they’ve secured the reason for the show’s success: its producers. And Magical Elves is essential to the show; they produce Top Chef but not Top Design, which explains why the latter show sucked and Bravo gave it to them for season two.

With the producers out and Lifetime already making significant changes to the show they bought, never mind the fact that only Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum are signed to move with the show, this could signal the beginning of Runway‘s end.

For round three, Bravo may just have Magical Elves give them a new fashion reality series, although it won’t be a “direct knock-off,” Lipsitz said. “We love the world of fashion; we feel we have a lot more to give in that arena. It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility for us to be developing something under our new deal,” she said.


‘Runway’ stops here for Bravo show’s producers
[Hollywood Reporter]
NBC Universal Announces Exclusive Deal with Magical Elves [NBC Universal press release]

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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.