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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.

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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