The Weinstein Co. and Lifetime will not be able to promote, market or exhibit “Project Runaway” until further notice after a judge granted NBC Universal’s request for an injunction against the studio.
NBC Universal sued the Weinstein Co. after it reached a deal to move the hit show to Lifetime from NBC’s Bravo cable channel after the current cycle of the fashion competition ends. In its lawsuit, NBC Universal claimed that it had a right of first refusal should another network try to acquire “Runway” and its spinoffs when Bravo’s deal expired.
As part of the Friday order, NBC Universal was told to put up a $20 million bond. The Weinstein Co. had asked New York State Supreme Court Judge Richard B. Lowe to set a $200 million bond, which it said was the value of its deal with Lifetime.
Lifetime had also agreed to pick up several “Runway” spin-offs as part of its deal with the Weinstein Co. Weinstein is barred from promoting, marketing and exhibiting those shows as well.
Lifetime had originally planned to begin airing its version of “Runway” in November, but it recently decided to push that back to January. The show is a big part of the network’s attempt to give itself a more contemporary image. “Runway” and its spinoffs were a key part of Lifetime’s upfront presentation during the spring.
In a statement, Lifetime said it was disappointed by the court’s decision.
“It's unfortunate that the people hurt most by this ongoing dispute are the loyal fans of "Project Runway." In the meantime, Lifetime will pursue all measures to uphold its valid and binding agreement reached with the Weinstein Company for season six of "Project Runway."
A spokeswoman for the Weinstein Co. did not immediately have a comment.
NBC Universal said it was pleased with the ruling on its motion for an injunction.
“The overwhelming evidence demonstrated that the Weinstein Company violated NBC Universal's right of first refusal to future cycles of Project Runway,” NBC said in a statement. “After hearing all of the evidence, the court issued an order prohibiting the Weinstein Company from taking the show or any spin-off to Lifetime."
The judge also denied the Weinstein Co.’s motion to dismiss the suit.
The order calls for both parties to appear Oct. 15 for a conference to schedule a hearing that would expedite the disposition of the case.
“While it appears that resting ‘Project Runway’ for a period of time will not cause harm to the show, the court must ensure that is not off the air for an excessive period of time,” the judge said in his order. “Therefore, because this court finds that plaintiffs have also established a balancing of the equities in its favor, the court will enjoined Lifetime from promotion, marketing and exhibition of future cycles of ‘Project Runway.’ However, this matter will be put on a schedule such that the issues will be resolved through expedited proceedings.”
(Editor: Baumann. Updated throughout at 3:30 p.m. West Coast.)