Project Runway’s death spiral: Michael Kors out, team challenges in

Project Runway‘s 11th season will be the first without designer Michael Kors as a judge, as he’s being replaced by Zac Posen, though he will guest judge the finale. This season will also have the designers working together in teams in every single challenge.

If you add those two things to the show’s recent two misguided all-star seasons, which brought back memorable contestants to claw for attention in front of a bad host and judges, this is pretty much the end of old Project Runway, although in fairness the show that changed reality TV and became a cultural phenomenon pretty much died even before it left Bravo, though there have been some highlights.

Having an entirely team-based season might make sense if designers were, for example, already partners, collaborating in real life. But no, this is all about the drama. Here’s how Lifetime describes the format change:

“…a twist that throws 16 eager designers into a panic when they discover they will be participating in the series’ first-ever TEAMS EDITION, premiering Thursday, January 24, at 9pm ET/PT. This season, the controversial ‘team challenges’ are taken to a whole new level when the designers must work together for every challenge while ensuring their own garments stand out on the runway…”

Yes, let’s take an element of the competition that exists only to produce sensational televised moments and turn it into a whole season. Auf Wiedersehen, Project Runway.

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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.