EXCLUSIVE: Eight years ago, Project Runway made waves in the unscripted world, moving from its original home Bravo to Lifetime to put the female-focused cable network on the reality map. The show’s deal was coming up again this year, and I hear there was interest from other networks, but the reality staple is not going anywhere. In a big, multi-show deal between Lifetime and The Weinstein Company valued at about $50 million, including a TWC movie package, the network has renewed the mothership series Project Runway for three more seasons (Seasons 16 – 18), and its spinoffs Project Runway All Stars for two (6 and 7) and Project Runway: Junior for one (3). Additionally, Lifetime has picked up to series the latest fashion reality project from TWC, Fashion Inc.
Fourteen seasons in, Project Runway continues to be a potent ratings performer. The most recent Season 14 finale last fall drew 2.52 million viewers in Live+same day and delivered some of the show’s best numbers in target demos in two years. In adults 25-54 (0.99) and women 25-54, Project Runway had not fared better since the show’s Season 12 finale in 2013. Additionally, Project Runway has garnered a best reality competition series Emmy nomination every years since its launch, along with multiple noms for hosts Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn.
“Project Runway is a great franchise,” A+E president and CEO Nancy Dubuc said. “It’s got an incredibly loyal audience, it’s a brand unto itself, and it has all these Emmy nominations. We have a great relationship with Harvey, Heidi and Tim, and I’m glad its home will be here for many years to come.”
The renewals come just as production on Season 15 of Project Runway is about to begin next month. “Heidi, Tim and the whole team built something that has made a lasting mark on television history,” said TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein. “The fans’ loyalty to Runway and its sister shows Project Runway All Stars and Junior have made the franchise a cornerstone of our TV division. We couldn’t have better partners than Nancy, Rob (Sharenow) and the entire Lifetime network.”
Fashion Inc., announced as part of Lifetime’s development slate earlier this spring, is set in New York City’s fashion district. In the vein of Shark Tank, it features aspiring fashion and beauty entrepreneurs competing for the chance to secure funds from a panel of expert investors to help grow their budding ventures. The panel includes Katia Beauchamp, the Co-Founder & CEO of beauty retailer Birchbox; fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff; CEO of plus-size clothing rental startup Gwynnie Bee, Christine Hunsicker; and CEO of Hildun Corporation and Chairman of Interluxe Holdings LLC, Gary Wassner.
The deal between Lifetime parent A+E Networks and TWC was brokered by Paul Buccieri and David Glasser.