Project Runway runs away to Lifetime

Cable's biggest reality hit has a new home. Project Runway, which has spent the last five years on the Bravo Network, will air its sixth season on the female-focused Lifetime Channel, the network and Runway producer The Weinstein Company announced today.

The move is a huge coup for Lifetime, which will now be home to cable television's biggest and most respected reality show. The program, which pits aspiring fashion designers against one another in an elimination-style competition, was recently given a distinguished Peabody Award.

On the flip side of things, the move is devastating for Bravo, which will now have to rely on programs such as Make Me a Supermodel, Top Chef, and The Real Housewives of New York City--none of which hold the cachet of Runway.

Understandably, Bravo execs are livid with the decision by the Weinstein brothers moving the show over to Lifetime--so mad in fact, that The New York Times reports NBC--which owns Bravo--has filed a lawsuit against the Weinstein Company.

Lawyers for Bravo said that the Weinsteins made a deal with Lifetime two months ago, yet continued to negotiate with Bravo. Under the contract, Bravo had first rights to match any offer from another network. Catfight!

The Weinsteins gave a reason as to why they left Bravo, but it doesn't exactly smell rosy. "Lifetime is one of the strongest cable networks in the industry, with great leadership and a true commitment to original programming," the Weinsteins told Variety. "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."

That, or maybe boatloads of cash.

The sixth season of Project Runway, with host Heidi Klum and mentor Tim Gunn, is scheduled to debut in November. Season five is expected to air this summer on Bravo.

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