Weinsteins strike back at Bravo over "Runway"

Tue Oct 28, 2008 3:49am EDT
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By Leslie Simmons

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Bravo isn't the only one claiming it's been damaged by the Weinstein Co's provocative decision to move "Project Runway" to Lifetime.

In papers filed Friday in federal court in New York, Weinstein claims Bravo intentionally refused to promote Season 5 of the reality series because of the move, and is seeking unspecified damages.

Weinstein, the studio run by Miramax Films founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein, said some of the things Bravo did to sabotage the ratings and value of the show included changing the show's airtime; running a small number of ads; creating "mundane and unappealing" ads; providing little information for the press about the season premiere; and revealing spoilers about future episodes.

The company also alleges that when Bravo began to suspect that the show might move to a rival network, it created "copycat shows" based on the "Runway" format.

Bravo's parent company, NBC Universal, said in a statement: "Not only do we categorically disagree with the Weinstein's Co.'s assertions, but the fact is that Season 5 was the most-watched and highest-rated 'Project Runway' cycle ever."

NBC Universal sued Weinstein in New York Supreme Court in April after the producers announced "Runway" would move to Lifetime, a female-oriented network owned jointly by Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp.

The network claimed Weinstein threatened to take future cycles of the show to another network if NBC Universal didn't agree to pay millions more to acquire a package that included TV rights to second-tier Weinstein films.

NBC Universal also claims Weinstein engaged in "sham negotiations" with the network after it had already inked a deal with Lifetime.   Continued...

<p>Host Heidi Klum talks to audience members during the taping of the season finale of Project Runway during New York Fashion Week September 12, 2008. REUTERS/Keith Bedford</p>