September 7, 2018
by Yvette Thomas
It’s the end of an era for “Project Runway,” the long-running talent contest for aspiring fashion designers. “Project Runway” hosts/judges Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, who were with the show since its 2004 debut, have left “Project Runway,” and have announced that they are starting their own fashion reality show on Amazon Prime Video. More details about their new show are to be announced. The press release from Amazon Prime Video is at the end of this article.
In May 2018, it was announced that “Project Runway” would be returning in 2019 to Bravo, the show’s first U.S. network. The 17th season of “Project Runway” will premiere in 2019 on Bravo on a date to be announced. Then in June 2018, Bravo announced that “Project Runway” was also bringing back Magical Elves, the production company that produced the first five seasons of “Project Runway,” which will produce the show with Lantern Entertainment. Magical Elves co-founders Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth were named as the show’s new executive producers, but Klum and Gunn were not mentioned anywhere in Bravo’s announced reboot of “Project Runway.” It was a sign of things to come.
“Project Runway” debuted in 2004 in Bravo, and then moved to Lifetime in 2008, and stayed on Lifetime until 2017. The move to Lifetime was problematic, and resulted in lawsuits between Lifetime and Bravo that were eventually settled. While at Lifetime, “Project Runway” was produced by Bunim/Murray Productions, Miramax Television (from 2004 to 2011), The Weinstein Company (from 2005 to 2017), Heidi Klum Productions and Full Picture Entertainment. After the downfall of Weinstein Company co-founder Harvey Weinstein in late 2017, when he fired from the company after being publicly accused of sexual assault by numerous women, “Project Runway” distanced itself from The Weinstein Company, which later went bankrupt and sold to investor group Lantern Entertainment.
Gunn started off as an advisor/mentor to contestants on “Project Runway,” and he was promoted in 2011 to co-host/co-judge the show with Klum, who was one of the show’s executive producers. Gunn also became a producer on the show in 2011. In 2013, Klum and Gunn won an Emmy for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program. “Project Runway” has also won an Emmy in 2009 for Outstanding Picture Editing for Reality Programming.
In a statement released in June 2018, Cutforth said: “We could not be more thrilled to return as the producers of ‘Project Runway.’ We built the series from the ground up with Bravo and it is part of the DNA of our company.”
Lipsitz added, “Dan and I have always loved ‘Runway’ so much and we can’t wait to return to it with a renewed creative energy. We are really excited to reflect some of the incredible changes that have happened in the fashion world since we last produced the series.”
Bravo also announced that its “Project Runway” reboot would have a grand prize of $250,000, the largest monetary prize so far for “Project Runway.”
“Project Runway’s” most famous winner is Christian Siriano, who won in the show’s fourth season in 2008. He has gone on to become a designer whose fashions are regularly seen at A-list celebrity events and shown at New York Fashion Week.
Winners of “Project Runway” have also had their fashions featured in magazine spreads for Elle and later Marie Claire. It has not yet been announced if Marie Claire will continue its affiliation with “Project Runway.” It also hasn’t been announced if any of the show’s other judges will be part of the show’s reboot. Other “Project Runway” judges have included Marie Claire editor Nina Garcia and fashion designer Zac Posen. Fashion designer Michael Kors was a judge on “Project Runway” for the show’s first 10 seasons.
In the years since “Project Runway” debut, the show has launched several editions in other countries, as well as spinoff series.
The following is a press release from Amazon Prime Video:
Amazon Prime Video today announced it is developing a new reality fashion series from the recent Emmy nominated duo of Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, which will premiere globally in over 200 countries and territories. While details remain close to the vest, the show will continue Klum and Gunn’s 14-year relationship and a commitment to making fashion accessible to a wide audience.
The series will be a fresh take in the reality space and will appeal to a global audience who are entertained by competition, storytelling, and authenticity. Additionally, Amazon Fashion will create a shoppable experience for viewers. This intersection of content, commerce, and technology is perfectly suited to the cord cutter generation and streaming consumers.
Over the years, Klum and Gunn, who previously won an Emmy Award in 2013, have enlightened viewers about the craftsmanship, talent and sheer dedication it requires for designers to take ideas from sketch to runway with many challenges along the way. They have used the narrative of fashion as a starting point to spark discussion and create conversation around the fabric of the stories they’ve told. Issues that have been explored include body positivity, inclusion, and diversity.
“After 16 incredible seasons, I am saying ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to Project Runway, a show that I was honored to host and help create,” said Heidi Klum. “I am incredibly proud of the show, and it will always have a special place in my heart. I am so appreciative of the dedicated fans, and most of all, I am grateful that we could shine a light on creativity and help launch so many talented designers’ careers. I’m most excited that my journey with my dear friend and colleague, Tim Gunn, is far from over. We will be partnering with Amazon for a new show, and we’re excited for everyone to see what we’re designing next!”
Tim Gunn commented: “I am grateful to Project Runway for putting me on a path I never, in my wildest dreams, thought my career would take me! I am so proud to have been a part of the groundbreaking process that showcased talented young designers as never before. Most importantly, I am indebted to our incredible fans, they are the heart and soul of what we do, and continue to inspire us to raise the bar in this arena. I’m excited for them to see what’s next, as I partner with Amazon and Heidi Klum on our next great ‘fashion’ adventure.”
Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, commented: “Heidi Klum completely changed the television landscape by developing a competitive reality fashion series that was unproven and different from what was popular on-air. The show became wildly successful, and in turn Klum and Tim Gunn have become an iconic pop culture duo. Their drive to deliver fashionably entertaining, engaging and trendsetting content speaks for itself, and we believe their next iteration in this space will find an even larger audience on our global Prime Video runway.”