Thursday, January 29, 2009

'Project Runway' will tape finale of unaired season at Fashion Week


BY ROBERT KAHN
robert.kahn@newsday.com

You're not watching "Project Runway” on TV because of a nasty lawsuit, but fashion hangers-on will still get a glimpse into Tim Gunn's natty world next month when the program films its traditional season finale during Fashion Week.

"Project Runway” completed taping in the fall -- its first season in Los Angeles. But the popular show hasn't aired because of a battle between Bravo, program producers the Weinstein Co. and Lifetime, which purchased the rights to air "Runway” when its deal with Bravo expired.

The Lifetime deal ended up on life support when NBC-owned Bravo sued the Weinstein Co., claiming they were never offered a contractually promised chance to match the competing offer.

The "Runway” season finale will tape Feb. 20 among the Bryant Park couture-ati, with one major change from past tapings, intended to conceal finalist's identities -- not even audience members will know whose collections they're seeing paraded down the runway. The designers won't be introduced.

"The producers made that decision because we want to keep the finalists a secret for fans,” said Emily Feingold, a spokesperson for the Weinstein Co.

The move adds another level of cloak-and-haberdashery secrecy to the whole shebang. In past seasons, designers would introduce their collections, and a "decoy” or two would be among the so-called "finalists,” keeping the actual finalist lineup vague, but somewhat decipherable.

Producers have booked the Tent, the largest of three Bryant Park venues, for the three-hour taping.

The pending suit includes an injunction keeping Lifetime from marketing or selling advertising for the show. The case is in state court, with no trial date set.

Until the matter is resolved, no one can say when "Runway” might air. One rumor making the rounds has the season eventually going straight to DVD.

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I fear the best program on television is dead. It is almost impossible to save a program that has had this much adversity. Potential advertisers would be foolish to gamble on the outcome of all of this nonsense. It is a damn shame to end this program but I, for one, will never support whichever network wins this legal battle. Once again, greed wins.

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I hope they solve whatever the problem is cuz I look so forward to the show. It's one of the best reality shows on. Hurry up guys...get you s#*t together! We need Project Runway!!!!!!!

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