'Project Runway' cleared to air on Lifetime
NBC, Weinstein Co., Lifetime settle lawsuit
NBC Universal -- parent company of the show's previous home, Bravo -- producer The Weinstein Co. and Lifetime, which snatched up rights to the show last year, have settled a lawsuit over the show. The settlement clears the way for "Runway," which kept filming its sixth season while the suit was working its way through the courts, to debut on Lifetime in the summer.
"NBC Universal, The Weinstein Company and Lifetime have resolved their disputes," a statement from the parties involved reads. "The Weinstein Company will pay NBCU for the right to move 'Project Runway' to Lifetime. All of the parties are pleased with the outcome."
In a separate statement, Lifetime president and CEO Andrea Wong says, "I couldn't be more excited that Lifetime will bring its viewers an amazing, all-new season of 'Project Runway' this summer. ... All of us at Lifetime are thrilled to move forward with Heidi [Klum], Tim [Gunn], Nina [Garcia], Michael [Kors], The Weinstein Company and the entire 'Project Runway' team."
Lifetime announced at its upfront last year that it had acquired the rights to "Project Runway" and would begin airing the series in November 2008. NBC Universal -- parent company of the show's previous home, Bravo -- sued to block the move, claiming that The Weinstein Co. denied Bravo a right of first refusal to pick up more seasons of the show.
A New York court granted NBCU a preliminary injunction stopping the network switch in September. Lifetime then tried and failed to get the case moved to a federal court. The case was settled after The Weinstein Co. agreed to pay NBC Universal a fee to move the show to Lifetime.
Lifetime's deal with The Weinstein Co. includes five more seasons of "Project Runway," a spinoff series called "Models of the Runway" and a third show called "Project Pygmalion," along with a package of Weinstein Co. movies that will air on the cable channel.
"Project Runway's" final season on Bravo ended in October. It averaged 3.6 million viewers -- making it the most-watched season of the show ever -- with almost two-thirds of those viewers falling in the adults 18-49 demographic that advertisers love. Close to 5 million people watched the finale.