Lifetime tries again to find Project Runway’s soul

After the limp and unmemorable sixth season of Project Runway that concluded last fall, Lifetime tries again. Season six proved Lifetime and Bunim-Murray can get the look and feel down, but can they find the show’s soul, the part that makes it more than just a visual experience?

For the first time in its history, the designers, their creations, and Tim Gunn will be shot and broadcast in high definition. But HD won’t mean much if the 16 designers don’t bring talent and personality, and the challenges don’t challenge them, and the judges–Michael and Nina judge the whole season–don’t just seem to be going through the motions.

Marketing for the new season seems to be along the lines of, “Oops! Screwed that one up. But now we’re back, baby!” It emphasizes the return to New York, which is definitely one step in the right direction. In one promo, the announcer says the new season has “unprecedented talent, unthinkable challenges, and the most memorable designers we’ve ever met.” At least the bar wasn’t set too high by last season.

The marketing isn’t above lying a little, either. In a promo about Michael Kors return, the YouTube video’s description says, “You’ve asked for it and we’ve listened, Michael Kors is back for every episode.” That suggests viewer response to his absence last season brought him back, but in reality, season seven filmed before anyone watched season six. Nice try.

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.