Judge rejects claim that Project Runway concept was stolen by Heidi Klum

A lawsuit filed almost three years ago by two women who claim they created Project Runway has been thrown out by a judge.

Cynthia Rodriguez and Elizabeth Marie Anne Zwiebach claimed they pitched the idea for American Runway to Heidi Klum’s agents in 2003. Judge Loretta Preska wrote, according to the Daily Mail, that the two shows were very different:

“Project Runway does not ostensibly bend to its audience; the viewer is given a glimpse into the world of high fashion and is allowed to watch the fashion elite decide which of the contestants deserves admission into their exclusive enclave. American Runway is much more populist and inclusive; the viewer has a powerful voice in the outcome of the show, and the programme caters to engaging the fashion sensibilities of its real American audience.”

The AP reports that “Preska has agreed to toss out the lawsuit” and wrote “that it was clear the show was developed independently of the two women who challenged its originality.”

In an apparent attempt to fill space, the AP’s brief story also mentions that “Klum is known for telling contestants who don’t make the cut, ‘You’re aufed!’ — short for the German farewell.”

Had the people who wrote or edited this ever, like, watched the show, they’d know that she says no such thing. She says, “You’re out” and then tells them “auf wiedersehen” as she kisses them goodbye. It’d be nice if the AP hired someone who either watches TV or knows how to Google.

Judge throws out lawsuit accusing Heidi Klum of stealing idea for her hit show Project Runway [Daily Mail]
NY judge aufs `Project Runway’ suit [AP]

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.