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Biggest Headlines of '08: The Battle For Project Runway

Biggest Headlines of '08: The Battle For Project Runway

Project Runway was the tentpole show of Bravo, the series that birthed a million spin-offs (Top Chef, Shear Genius) and became a cultural phenomenon. There was no reason to think anything would change — until April, when we first saw the shocking announcement that Project Runway now belonged to Lifetime.

It turns out the announcement of the Weinstein Company's deal with Lifetime was a wee bit premature — or at least naive of the legal battle that was to come. More than eight months later, the fate of Runway remains up in the air, after lawsuits and counter-lawsuits, and the current expectation is that Runway will be grounded for months.

The legal nitty-gritty has given us some funny revelations, like Harvey Weinstein's "five true friends" speech and the sullying of Meredith Baxter Birney's good name. But there's some serious stuff here, too — or, at least, as serious as any battle over a fashion-related reality TV show could be. Episodes for an upcoming season six, produced by Real World producers Bunim-Murray and not original producers Magical Elves, have been filmed, but there's no telling if or when or where they'll air.

A judge initially ruled against the Weinstein Company and said Lifetime couldn't air Runway or any planned spin-offs. But Weinstein is still challenging the ruling, and Lifetime has now filed a suit of its own. With no end in sight, and many of you saying you wouldn't watch more Lifetime even if they did have Runway, a lawsuit isn't the only thing that could be lost — Runway's audience could flee, too.

Check out FabSugar for her take on the Project Runway drama.

Photo courtesy of Bravo

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Allyace Allyace 8 years
It shouldn't matter for a first right of refusal whether NBC intended to move it. It should be treated as any commodity and once you buy it, you get to decide what to do with it. If you have a first right of refusal on a house, you have the option to knock it to the ground if you buy it...
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 8 years
This legal battle is so ridiculous...ProjRun should stay on Bravo.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Oops. I meant envy anyone *the task* of interpreting it.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Thanks Buzz! I certainly don't envy anyone of interpreting that particular conversation...
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
tlsgirl — you're totally right, at least from my understanding of things. Bravo had a deal for five seasons + a right of first refusal for later. One of the issues that's come up in the latest legal filings (there have been SO many legal filings) is that NBC corporate folks apparently said they wanted to move the show off Bravo and onto a more-watched network like USA or even NBC proper -- and now someone will have to decide whether that counted as "refusal" and meant the Weinsteins could shop it around.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I'm guessing the "legal nonsense" surrounding the show has a lot to do with wanting to keep the show on Bravo, since it's such a huge audience draw and one of their most popular shows. And when you think of the ad revenue and other income associated with it, the costs of a legal battle start to pale in comparison a little bit. I'm not really sure if Bravo had any right to the show past this last season (I didn't really read too much into the issues), but they may have had a right of first refusal deal with the Weinstein company before it was shopped to other networks.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
this one still baffles me a little bit - i guess i just don't understand why there is so much legal nonsense surrounding this show. yes it was announced too early - but come on - just let the show go and let it air on lifetime, and be done with it. consider the costs of all the legal's just absurd!
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