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NO TAKEOFF JUST YET: After a decision Friday night by New York State Supreme Court judge Richard Lowe 3rd blocked The Weinstein Co. from moving “Project Runway” to Lifetime from Bravo for its sixth season, plenty of questions still swirled on Monday. What does the ruling mean for Marie Claire, the reported magazine partner for season six? For the title’s fashion director, Nina Garcia, the bridge between Marie Claire and the hit reality show? For guest judges such as Lindsay Lohan, who reportedly have committed to appear on the next season? For advertisers?
What it means is that nothing changes, everything stays the same and season six filming goes on, just without a home. For now. The Weinstein Co. is appealing the decision, which could mean it gets reversed and the show moves to Lifetime after all. “Obviously we will be appealing and remain committed to our partners,” the company said.
Production for season six began in the middle of this month in Los Angeles and will continue through mid-October: Season six is scheduled to air in January (the finale of season five will air on Bravo in November). Some plans for the show’s guest stars and sponsorships reportedly have been finalized: Marie Claire is said to be the magazine partner for season six, though The Weinstein Co. has yet to confirm the deal. Advertisers, meanwhile, have taken the news in stride. Said one top television buyer, who requested anonymity: “I don’t think anybody is freaking out, because the show is still being produced.”
Any advertisers who negotiated integrated deals with the show likely finalized terms months ago and will still move forward. “When you’re doing an integration, you have to work with the show’s producers and the sales force,” the buyer said. What could be in jeopardy is any additional ad dollars a marketer spent with Lifetime to support any product integration on “Project Runway.” “Those dollars are most in limbo, because those could disappear if the show disappears” and head to whatever new network “Project Runway” would air on.
As part of the decision Friday, NBC Universal was ordered to pay a $20 million bond. NBC Universal and The Weinstein Co. are due back in court Oct. 15 for a hearing to schedule resolution of the matter, though some believe the parties could settle the matter beforehand to ensure the sixth season airs. Said the media buyer: “I would not be surprised if money were exchanged between the two networks.” — Stephanie D. Smith