Project Runway’s fifth and last season on Bravo will feature familiar faces and a significant newcomer among the biggest sponsors of the design competition.
The top-rated show on the NBC Universal cable outlet — scheduled to shift to Lifetime for season six in November — has American Express as a new sponsor. Amex will underwrite an online “aftershow” for card holders called “Watch What Happens: After The Sew Live,” hosted by Bravo’s Andy Cohen.
The Runway sponsorship news from Bravo and show producer The Weinstein Co. is scheduled to be announced today (July 14), along with the new cast of 16 competing designers — just two days before the new season starts.
Bluefly.com, L’Oréal Paris, automaker Saturn and TRESemmé are also “top sponsors,” and sewing machine maker Brother International returns as an integrated sponsor.
As always, their products are well integrated into the show, and the deals include on-screen and online exposure.
Elle magazine returns as a backer, and editor at large Nina Garcia continues as a judge.
Bluefly.com will give the winning designer a venue to sell his or her creations and again host the “Bluefly.com Accessory Wall” in the designers’ workroom. A new wrinkle: Bluefly will sponsor “B-Hive Viewing Parties,” where fans can submit pictures from their viewing parties to Bravotv.com for the chance to win the Ultimate Viewing Party attended by a past Runway designer.
L’Oréal Paris is back for a fifth year and will again provide a makeup room in each episode for the models’ reveal. It also sponsors mobile-phone content and a sweepstakes for a trip to New York for the season finale.
Saturn will offer the winning designer a 2009 Saturn VUE Hybrid, as well as host a new on-screen vignette series featuring past Runway contestants designing an outfit inspired by the vehicle. A microsite and a sweepstakes are involved.
TRESemmé Professional Hair Care offers the winner $100,000 to start his or her own collection. TRESemmé will step up its online presence, sponsoring a weekly online challenge on Bravo’s site, and starts a new campaign this year featuring last year’s winning designer, Christian Siriano.
On air, supermodel Heidi Klum, menswear designer Michael Kors and Liz Claiborne’s Tim Gunn also will return.
In April, NBCU sued The Weinstein Co. after the company cut a reported $150 million deal to move the show to Lifetime. Last month, a court hearing in the case was rescheduled to July 17.