Project Runway brings back fan favorite, but with voting on Twitter

Lifetime is resurrecting the Project Runway fan favorite vote, and votes will be cast via Twitter. The winner will receive $10,000.

Mashable reports that “the top 20 designers have been assigned a Twitter hashtag” that will appear “alongside his or her name during episode broadcasts,” and Lifetime “will also run 15-second promotional spots (like the one above) to get fans voting. Tweets that mention a designer’s hashtag (at any time during the season) will be counted as votes.” We’ll also see vote totals at the end of every episode.

Of course, this is an effort to help increase viewers’ engagement and the show’s ratings. A&E’s senior VP for digital media, Evan Silverman, told Mashable that they “have been obsessing about trying to understand the relationship between social media conversations and television ratings. … What is clear is that if you can generate buzz, awareness and visibility in real time, then it does seem to help grow ratings.”

This seems like a smart approach, giving a way for viewers who are already on Twitter to support their favorites. And it’s a lot better than just having its host pimp a ridiculous hashtag like #LifetimeProjectRunway.

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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, 37, 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.