The sixth season of Project Runway may not be strutting down Lifetime’s catwalk anytime soon -- or anywhere else for that matter.
A New York State Supreme Court judge Friday granted NBC Universal and Bravo a preliminary injunction against The Weinstein Co. from taking the series or any spin-off thereof to the women’s-targeted cable network. However, officials at The Weinstein Co., which will appeal the injunction, said the ruling by judge Richard B. Lowe III also prevents Bravo from airing the sixth season.
The Heidi Klum-hosted competition show, which is currently in its fifth season, has been a franchise series for Bravo.
The Weinstein Co. in April reached a reported five-year, $200 million deal with Lifetime for distribution of Project Runway. However, Bravo sued Weinstein over the contract, arguing that the company did not honor NBC Universal's and Bravo's right of first refusal before signing a pact with any other company for new seasons of the show.
Lifetime was scheduled to begin running the show's sixth season on its air in January. Given that game plan, the parties are slated to appear in court Oct. 15 for a conference about the expedited scheduling.
According to sources familiar with the series, filming and production had begun in recent weeks. Lifetime originally planned to air the series in November, but held off to bring more promotional muscle to bear behind the series’ migration to the network. Magical Elves, which has signed a first-look deal with NBCU, has been the production company behind Project Runway's run on Bravo.
NBCU issued the following statement Friday: “NBC Universal is pleased that the court granted our motion for a preliminary injunction against The Weinstein Company. The overwhelming evidence demonstrated that The Weinstein Company violated NBC Universal's right of first refusal to future cycles of Project Runway. After hearing all of the evidence, the court issued an order prohibiting The Weinstein Company from taking the show or any spin-off to Lifetime.”
For its part, the Weinstein statement read: “We are glad that the court held that NBC Universal cannot exhibit the program on Bravo and that the court required NBC Universal to post a minimum $20 million bond. Obviously, we will be appealing and remain committed to our partners.”
Since NBCU won the injunction to keep the show from running on Lifetime, NBCU will have to post the $20 million, according to the court. That's 10% of what Weinstein said the value of its deal is with the women’s network.
Lifetime responded with its own prepared remark: “We are disappointed with the court’s decision to grant the preliminary injunction against The Weinstein Company. It’s unfortunate that the people hurt most by this ongoing dispute are the loyal fans of Project Runway. In the meantime, Lifetime will pursue all measures to uphold its valid and binding agreement reached with The Weinstein Company for season six of Project Runway.”