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GUESS WE’LL JUST WATCH THE RERUNS: There’s yet another snag in the dispute over the fate of “Project Runway.” On Friday, Lifetime weighed in, applying to move the case between the show’s producer The Weinstein Co. and Bravo owner NBC Universal to a federal court from New York State Supreme Court.
“Lifetime [on Friday] removed the ‘Project Runway’ lawsuit from state court to federal court,” the network said. “We did this because any issue relating to Lifetime’s exclusive right to air future cycles of ‘Project Runway’ is a matter of federal copyright law and therefore should be heard by a federal court. We continue to believe that Lifetime has rights superior to NBCU’s claimed right of first refusal on future cycles of ‘Project Runway.’”
Meanwhile, NBC Universal said, “Hours before the state court judge was to set a trial schedule, Lifetime chose to pursue legal maneuvers to shift the case to federal court, which will only delay the proceedings. NBC Universal will vigorously fight this 11th hour move and intends to file legal papers seeking to remand the case to state court.” The hearing scheduled for Friday was canceled.
Lifetime’s move adds to the drama in the battle for the reality show. In April, NBC Universal filed a lawsuit against The Weinstein Co. for breach of contract after Weinstein said it was taking the program to Lifetime beginning with its sixth season. Lifetime, however, wasn’t named in the suit and hadn’t sought formal motions until Friday. In September, Judge Richard B. Lowe 3rd issued a preliminary injunction stopping the show or any spin-offs from moving to Lifetime. The Weinstein Co. filed an appeal shortly afterward. With Lifetime’s pushing the case to federal court, and with NBC Universal preparing to fight it, the case is going to become even more prolonged.
As the dispute gets murkier, it also makes it less likely a resolution between NBC and Weinstein will come in time for the show’s sixth season, which originally was set to air in January. There’s been speculation the show won’t air until next summer. A Lifetime spokeswoman said a schedule for the show has not been set.
Meanwhile, filming of the sixth season just wrapped in Los Angeles last week. According to press reports, expect guest judges Rebecca Romijn, Eva Longoria and Lindsay Lohan — but don’t expect to see much of regular judges Nina Garcia and Michael Kors. Sources close to the production say the two only make a handful of appearances, and that Garcia and Kors appear in even fewer episodes together. The show also had to use a stand-in for the real Los Angeles Mood Fabrics. The New York Garment District fabric shop that provides contestants with materials does have a West Coast outpost, but sources said the Los Angeles Mood Fabrics was an hour away from the shoot sites. So the crew filmed some of the scenes at a fake “Mood” storefront at a different shop. A spokesperson for Lifetime referred comment to The Weinstein Co., which declined comment on show details. — Stephanie D. Smith