Lifetime's 'Project Runway' Struts More Social Stuff

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Looking to wring more tweets from Project Runway's fashionista fan base -- and spur viewers to tune in live -- Lifetime will introduce two new social TV features with Thursday's premiere of Season 10.

With the "Favorite Fan" contest, sponsored by L'Oreal Paris, Lifetime will give $500 weekly cash prizes to the show's most retweeted fan during the season's 14-week run. "Real-Time Runway," sponsored by Lexus, will aggregate selected comments from judges, guests and viewers on the Project Runway site during live broadcasts and repeat airings.

"Project Runway is an extremely social show," said Evan Silverman, senior vice president of digital media for A+E Networks. "We really are trying to leverage the real-time nature of these feeds and provide a value-add for our fans."

The show counts 1.48 million fans on Facebook and 120,300 followers on Twitter. Project Runway encourages fans to use the #MakeItWork hashtag across social-media services including Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to spread the word.

Project Runway Fan Favorite leader board

For Season 10, which premieres July 19 at 9 p.m. Eastern, Project Runway also is reprising the "Fan Favorite" social competition that lets Twitter users vote using hashtags with a designer's name, which it introduced in Season 9. The designer with the most votes at the end of the season is crowned "Fan Favorite" and awarded $10,000.

To select the weekly Favorite Fan winner, Lifetime is using a customized data feed from New York-based SocialGuide to gauge the most retweeted comments from the audience in real-time. The programmer will show a Twitter leader board that will be live during each broadcast from 9 p.m. Eastern on Thursdays until 1:30 a.m. Eastern Fridays (to account for East and West Coast airings).

The Real-Time Runway feature will use SocialGuide's Twitter TV application programming interface suite to produce two Twitter streams: one curating the conversation of all fans, and the other displaying the accounts of Tim Gunn, Heidi Klum, the judges, guest judges and other notable accounts. The feeds are designed to avoid spoilers, by letting users indicate if they are on the East or West Coast.

"We obviously want to provide something fun and interesting for our fans," Silverman said. "We want to encourage a volume of conversation that helps promote the show, and we also want to provide a great environment for our sponsors to be associated with cool activities for the show."

In Season 9, Project Runway's social followers generated 4.9 comments per unique user during the July 28-Oct. 27 run, according to SocialGuide. According to Wiredset's Trendrr, last season garnered more than 2.3 million individual social activities.

The Fan Favorite and Favorite Fan features are also available in the Project Runway app for Apple's iOS devices, while the Real-Time Runway will appear only on the show's website. Silverman noted that professional bloggers associated with the show are not eligible to win the Favorite Fan contest.