Final Bravo, Magical Elves season of Project Runway debuts tonight as Bravo reveals all of the challenges

The fifth and final season of Project Runway to air on Bravo and be produced by Magical Elves debuts tonight at 9 p.m. ET, a new time for the series. The series regulars all return, and they’ll judge and/or mentor 16 new designers who compete for $100,000.

Having done virtually nothing to promote the show up until Monday, even though it’s unnecessarily, pointlessly moving to an earlier, more competitive timeslot, Bravo has suddenly gone into overdrive. They’ve sent premiere episodes, complete with elimination, to critics who promised to review it.

Then, despite having insisted their virtual media blackout was an attempt to protect the show’s secrets, Bravo released a list of every single challenge and guest judge for the whole season. Those descriptions aren’t full-throttle spoilers, as they’re somewhat open-ended, but they’re detailed, and as far as I can remember, the network has never done anything like that before for any series.

Seriously, what the fuck is Bravo trying to do with the show that essentially made the network–you know, besides lying about how they’re trying to protect it? All of this seems like they’re trying to murder the show, and then thrust the bloody knife into Lifetime’s hands and point at Lifetime and shout, “Oh my god, they killed Runway!”

Meanwhile, Tim Gunn, who I’ve always appreciated for his honesty–onscreen and off–has told People magazine that we’re basically going to hate the new season, or at least tried to prepare fans for disappointment. “It’s a real roller coaster. [Fans] are going to get mad — early! There are some big surprises: Favorites won’t be there anymore, and I can only imagine how the blogs are going to explode over some of the challenge winners. We say that each season has a different DNA and boy, is that true,” he said.

Perhaps Bravo’s trying to mutate this season’s DNA so that its offspring will have malformed limbs and no friends.

Project Runway 5 [Bravo]
‘Project Runway': Details on contestants, challenges and guest judges [Chicago Tribune]
Tim Gunn: Runway Fans Are Going to Get Mad [People]

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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.