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Lifetime Nabs ‘Runway,’ NBC Sues Weinsteins Over Defection

Apr 7, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Lifetime has poached one of Bravo’s hit series, “Project Runway,” which will switch networks in November when the show’s sixth season starts.
NBC Universal, parent of Bravo, has filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court saying it had a contractual right of first refusal that was breached by the Weinstein Co., which produces the program.
NBC Universal, which was considering airing the show on another of the networks it owns, claims the Weinstein Co. continued talking with them even after signing a deal with Lifetime.
“NBC Universal has continuing legal rights related to ‘Project Runway,’ including the right of first refusal to future cycles of the series,” NBC Universal said in a statement.
The Weinstein Co. responded to the suit in a statement, saying NBC declined to compete for the rights to “Project Runway” and has sued to disrupt it from moving to Lifetime.
“We believe that this lawsuit is without merit. While good for the market for lawyers, it is always unfortunate when parties try to win in court what they have lost in the marketplace,” said David Boies, counsel to the Weinstein Co.
Adding “Project Runway” could be a coup for Lifetime, which is trying to maintain its leadership among networks aimed at women as NBC gears up as a challenger with a combination of Bravo, Oxygen and iVillage.
“‘Project Runway’ is one of the best television programs on the air today on broadcast or cable. I am a huge fan. All my friends are huge fans,” said Andrea Wong, CEO of Lifetime Networks. “Having water-cooler movies, dramas and reality shows like ‘Project Runway’ is what Lifetime Television is all about. We welcome the Weinstein Co., Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn to the Lifetime family for many walks down the runway to come.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but in NBC’s lawsuit, it claims the Weinstein Co. wanted to package the show with a collection of movies.
“‘Project Runway’ is our programming crown jewel, and great credit goes to Heidi, Tim and the Magical Elves for building more than a television show, but an actual brand that influences fashion interests and pop culture,” Weinstein Co. principals Bob and Harvey Weinstein said in a statement. “We would like to sincerely thank NBC Universal and Bravo for all their contribution and support.
“Today’s announcement is a celebration of all of our success, and having Lifetime’s unique cable reach will ensure that the show will continue to grow and expand in the years to come,” the Weinsteins’ statement continued. “Lifetime is one of the strongest cable networks in the industry, with great leadership and a true commitment to original programming. We are very excited for the many new opportunities that will now be provided to ‘Runway’ and its fans and look forward to premiering the sixth season in November 2008.”

2 Comments

  1. Ha! Ha!! Ha!!!
    It’s a better fit at Lifetime, less GE flacks.

  2. “all my friends are fans”. That’s the Lifetime CEO talking. amazing

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