‘Runway’ Must Conjure New Producers For Lifetime Shift

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NBC Universal has gotten in a final jab in its squabble with The Weinstein Co., which now has to find a new production company to shoot Project Runway when the hit show moves from Bravo to Lifetime this fall.

That’s because NBCU Monday announced that it has reached an exclusive “first-look” deal with Magical Elves, the production company behind Project Runway.

That means Magical Elves, the award-winning duo Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz, won’t be producing the fashion-competition show when it goes to Lifetime in November. That controversial shift of Project Runway to a new venue prompted NBCU to sue The Weinstein Co., which owns the rights to the hit show. 

“They’ve done a fantastic job as producers, and we wish them the best,” The Weinstein Co. spokesman Matt Frankel said Tuesday of Magical Elves.

Lifetime issued a prepared statement as well on Magical Elves, which is doing a pilot for the women’s network, Arranged Marriage.

“It’s the nature of television that outstanding series change some of the producers over their run,” Lifetime said. “Project Runway has been a success with collaborative partnerships among many brilliant ‘designers,’ and that will continue. We’re thrilled that the hearts of the show, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, and executive producers Jane Cha and Desiree Gruber, are all moving to Lifetime and that production will continue to be overseen by John Miller and Barbara Schneeweiss of The Weinstein Co.”  

Magical Elves produced all four seasons of the Peabody Award-winning Project Runway for Bravo, and are currently in pre-production with Bravo for Project Runway 5. It will air on Bravo in July.

Last month, there was a brouhaha when The Weinstein Co., which owns the rights to Project Runway, decided to take the show to Lifetime starting with its sixth season in a five-year deal valued at $150 million. Project Runway will debut on Lifetime in the fall. Bravo and NBCU are suing The Weinstein Co. over the switch.

NBCU’s agreement with Magical Elves includes unscripted, scripted, digital, wireless and short-form projects for the media conglomerate.

The agreement provides NBCU’s NBC network, Bravo, Oxygen, Sci-Fi Channel, USA Network and the programmer’s digital and wireless properties an exclusive first look on all projects developed by Cutforth and Lipsitz.