"Project Runway" The Sabotage Theory Hits the Courtroom
Remember how I mentioned more than once that it seemed like Bravo was doing a little “Project Runway” sabotage? Looks like I’m not alone in my thinking…
In court papers filed this week as part of its counterclaim to NBC Universal’s lawsuit, The Weinstein Co. accuses NBC Uni of trying to hurt the “Runway”s future value by failing to promote the fifth season and changing the timeslot.
According to “Television Week,” TWC makes the following claims in the papers:
- Bravo changed the show’s timeslot from 10 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays making it harder for viewers to find.
- Bravo didn’t start promoting the July 16th premiere until June 26th. The 20-day notice was the shortest in the show’s history, according to the papers.
- Bravo didn’t run many ads and the ads it did run were “confusing, mundane and unappealing.” TWC also alleges that the ads for the new season confused viewers because they featured clips from previous seasons.
- Bravo didn’t release the names and bios of the contestants until two days before the premiere, which put a damper on potential buzz for the show.
In a statement, NBC Uni officials said, “the fact is that season 5 was the most-watched and highest-rated ‘Project Runway’ cycle ever.” But TWC counters that by saying, “This achievement was in spite of, and not a result of, Bravo’s tactics. The overall goal and effect of Bravo’s marketing scheme was to lower the ratings of Season Five from what could have been otherwise reached.”
TWC also said in its counterclaim, “Advertisers will purchase product integration for Season 6 and beyond based upon their predictions of the program’s future ratings. The Weinstein Co. will not be able to exact as much revenue from product integration as it otherwise would have had Bravo followed its promotional scheme from previous seasons.”
You guys know I have nothing but love for Bravo and nothing but disdain for The Weinstein Company, but I have to say in this case TWC is right. If you’ve been reading my blog for the last several months you know that I’ve been questioning the “Runway” promotion myself. This would make the strange promotional decisions make sense.
And although I would argue that part of the reason the ads were unappealing is because the contestants were not appealing (which TWC would have to shoulder some of the blame for as executive producers), I truly believe that Bravo was trying to hurt “Runway.”
But my response to that is, can you blame them? Harvey Weinstein completely trashed Bravo—the network that made “Runway” a success—and then expects them to wholeheartedly support his show? And why should Bravo be expected to make a huge deal out of a show they know is going to a competitor?
If Bravo did indeed seek to diminish the show’s value as TWC suggests, it only makes me love them even more. It actually makes me have the slightest bit of respect for NBC Uni’s Jeff Zucker—but just the slightest.
TWC also alleges that Bravo is developing copycat shows, including the Sarah Jessica Parker-produced “Fashion House,” as competitors to “Runway.”
Well, duh! What are they supposed to do? Just sit back and let Lifetime have all of their viewers?
This whole thing is a perfect example of what happens when greed gets in the way of a good thing…
Photo Credit: Bravo