“Project Runway” will return to Bravo after a decade on Lifetime. The deal comes after Bravo Media sealed a deal with Lantern Entertainment, which acquired Weinstein Co.’s assets on May 8 after being approved by the Delaware bankruptcy court.
Bravo was the original network behind “Project Runway,” which premiered in 2004. But Bravo and Weinstein Co. couldn’t come to terms on a new licensing deal in 2008, and Weinstein moved the show to Lifetime — triggering a lawsuit by NBCUniversal against Weinstein Co. At the time, NBC Universal argued that Weinstein didn’t allow Bravo to match the deal that Lifetime offered. The two sides settled the suit in 2009, with Weinstein Co. agreeing to pay NBCU a settlement fee.
“We are beyond excited to reboot ‘Project Runway’ at the network where it all began. Leaning into the creative process in an entertaining way has always been part of Bravo’s DNA, and ‘Project Runway’ perfectly captures that,” said Frances Berwick, President Lifestyle Networks, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “This franchise will be an important cornerstone to complement Bravo’s original premium scripted and unscripted slate, and we expect it to drive the same level of fandom and passion as we experienced last time it was on Bravo.”
As for Lifetime, network parent A+E Networks had last month filed a briefing in bankruptcy court, noting that it had terminated its deal with The Weinstein Co. last November. A+E said Weinstein was in breach of its contract on the show due to allegations of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault and misconduct, which included his actions on “Runway.” (Weinstein was accused of using the show as a means to gain access to the show’s models.)
“Many of Mr. Weinstein’s victims implicated The Weinstein Co. and TWC Board, alleging that TWC knew of Mr. Weinstein’s misconduct, yet knowingly or negligently allowed it to continue,” the A+E filing said. Lifetime had previously renewed the show for three more seasons in 2016.
The Bravo deal is subject to Lantern closing the Weinstein acquisition. It’s unclear whether Bunim-Murray will continue producing the show, which it has done since “Runway” moved to Lifetime, or if there will be a role for Magical Elves, the company that originally produced “Runway” for Bravo. The announcement also didn’t mention which hosts and judges would return for Season 17, including Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn.
“As we anticipate formally completing the acquisition process, the opportunity to return ‘Project Runway’ to its original home at Bravo and foster a long-term and productive partnership with NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment is an exciting first step for Lantern Entertainment,” said Lantern co-presidents Andy Mitchell and Milos Brajovic. “We share Bravo’s enthusiasm to reinvigorate the series and are incredibly grateful for everyone who has had a hand in making ‘Project Runway’ the flagship franchise that it is today.”
As part of the deal, Bravo has sealed a deal with Lantern to develop other unscripted projects for Bravo and other networks in the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment portfolio.