Bravo's "Project Runway" jumps to Lifetime, NBC sues

Mon Apr 7, 2008 7:30pm EDT
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By Emily Chasan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - NBC Universal and its Bravo cable network will lose the popular television reality show "Project Runway" as the show unveiled plans on Monday to jump to rival cable network Lifetime Television.

The show, in which fledgling fashion designers compete for money to launch their own line, has been one of Bravo's top-rated shows.

NBC Universal filed suit on Monday in New York State Supreme Court against the show's producer, The Weinstein Co, claiming that the network and Bravo had the right of first refusal for future cycles of the show and any spinoffs.

"Project Runway" will move to Lifetime for its sixth season beginning in November as part of a five-year deal, the network and The Weinstein Co said.

In the lawsuit, NBC claimed it has been negotiating with Weinstein for more than a year to gain exclusive rights to broadcast subsequent cycles of the program, but that Weinstein threatened to take the show to another network unless NBC agreed

to acquire a package of unrelated Weinstein films for "many millions of additional dollars."

NBC is seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction to prevent Weinstein from taking the show to another network.

"It is always unfortunate when parties try to win in court what they have lost in the marketplace," David Boies, an attorney for Weinstein said in a statement.   Continued...

<p>Models walk the runway wearing designs by Jeffrey Sebelia during the Project Runway Spring 2007 fashion show in New York September 15, 2006. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid</p>