If American Idol is the Eden of reality star judgeships, then NBC’s Fashion Star has to be the River Styx and the beginning of the end. For one thing the series doesn’t actually have anyone called a judge on it. Instead Jessica Simpson, John Varvatos and Nicole Richie are referred to as ‘mentors’. You might not know it but NBC insists that Simpson, Richie and Varvatos are three of fashion’s biggest names. (Anna Wintour might beg to differ.) For the recently debuted Season 2, the ratings demonstrate a show that’s still struggling. Is that why the show slashed the prize contract from $6 million in the first season to $3 million for the second?
Richie, Varvatos and Simpson are supposed to guide their teams of four aspiring clothing designers to succeed with fashion buyers from Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Express. Otherwise, the designers have to face the blink-and-you-missed-it elimination. This results in a muddle of mentor roles. If you ask me, Fashion Star is a cable show that stumbled onto network and can’t compare to the superior Project Runway. So I feel forced to say this: Nicole Richie, you can do better. (more…)