'Under The Gunn': Tim Gunn details the 'different dimensions' from 'Project Runway'

tim-gunn-under-the-gunn-tcas-gi.jpgForgive yourself if you took a look at the trailer for Tim Gunn's upcoming Lifetime reality series "Under The Gunn" and couldn't quite catch the differences from that other fashion competition he's busy with, "Project Runway." He sympathizes with you.

"I wouldn't expect you to," Gunn jokes Thursday (Jan. 9) at the TCA winter press tour when one reporter admitted they couldn't quite distinguish between the two series. "I'm grateful for the question. ... We took the best parts -- well, I shouldn't say the best parts -- the parts that I love about 'Project Runway.'"

Ultimately, the new series aimed its focus on Gunn and his mentorship role. " Sara [ Rea, executive producer] huddled and really came up with this concept about me being sort of the big daddy, mentoring mentors who are mentoring designers in the work room," Gunn explains. "So you see a different dimension than you do on 'Runway' -- in fact, many different dimensions."

The new series features past "Runway" stars Mondo Guerra, Anya Ayoung-Chee and Nick Verreos taking on Gunn's role and each mentoring a group of designers through a competition that's not unlike the one seen in "Runway." They'll face a panel of judges including designer Rachel Roy, stylist Jen Rade and Marie Claire Senior Fashion Editor Zanna Roberts Rassi for a cash prize of $100,000.

But beyond the competition, "Under The Gunn" will be the story of young mentors learning how to foster talent in the same way Gunn once did with them. Coming upon these three "Runway" all-stars wasn't easy, the host admits. 

"We were looking for diversity among them. We were looking for diversity in points of view ... We wanted various levels of experience, of personality," he says. "Like anything, it's a bit of a crapshoot. You don't know. What we did know is that among these three individuals they ache possessed a tenacity; a willingness to learn."

Luckily, they'll be learning from the best.

"Under The Gunn" premieres Thursday, Jan. 16 at 9 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images