Project Runway 5 finale guest judge Tim Gunn initially turned down producers’ offer to guest judge, but he knew that he might be judging before he offered his final mentor consultations to the designers. Tim explains how the whole thing went down on his Bravo blog, where he writes,
“Bravo and the executive producers approached me before our Bryant Park show to say that there may be a problem with our guest judge and, consequently, how would I feel about filling in. At first, my response was a roll-up-your-sleeves and ‘make it work!’ form of positive thinking, but as I contemplated the reality of it, I pushed back and refused. Consider the following: I still had another visit to the designers that night and there would be a considerable amount of time needed to support them in the morning before the show. How could I be both a mentor and a judge and service their needs appropriately and responsibly? I believed that I couldn’t. So, to make a very long story a wee bit shorter, we ended Thursday night’s bevy of phone calls in the following way: Bravo and the producers would ardently search for a replacement judge and I would return to my work with the designers assuming that I would not be a judge If I were to be needed in that role, then I wouldn’t be informed of that need mere moments before the show. Otherwise, I could be perceived by the designers (and anyone else mind you) as being duplicitous and insincere. That would never do. Furthermore, Kenley and I were engaged in an semi-incendiary relationship, and the worst thing that could happen would be for her to lose and have me perceived as being the reason why. Oy!”
Once producers realized they couldn’t find another celebrity judge (which seems to be bullshit to me; we saw some quasi-celebs in the audience of the runway show), they asked Tim to step in. With 10 minutes to go, Tim was still reluctant, but Heidi Klum made a compelling argument.
Tim writes, “Heidi reared back and asked, ‘Tim Gunn, are you telling me that with all of your years of teaching you can’t put your relationships aside and look at their work impartially? I thought about her wise words and responded, ‘Of course I can! Let’s go!'”