The flailing (and rightfully so) Weinstein Company was recently snapped up by Lantern Capital Partners, a private equity firm so, uh, versatile, it buys up underperforming car dealerships while also branching out into the entertainment business. Now Deadline reports that one of Lantern’s first acts as the new stewards of the Weinstein Co. is to return Project Runway to its Bravo home.
The move was announced as part of NBCUniversal’s upfront presentation today, where Bravo’s Andy Cohen related the news. The long-running reality competition series has a complicated broadcasting history. In 2006, the Weinstein Company made a deal with A+E Television Networks, thereby relocating the reality competition series to Lifetime. NBCUniversal immediately filed suit against TWC, arguing it should have been allowed to match the offer made by Lifetime. Project Runway remained off the air during this legal battle, but returned when Harvey Weinstein agreed to pay the plaintiff an undisclosed sum for the rights to run the show on Lifetime. NBCUniversal regained partial ownership of Project Runway in 2009, after A+E Television Networks, which it partially owns, bought Lifetime. But this new deal with Lantern Entertainment, which is still pending, should resolve any remaining issues.
Project Runway was in production limbo following the flood of allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Weinstein in 2018. As Deadline notes, A+E Television Networks terminated its contract with TWC last November, then canceled a 2016 agreement for three more seasons of Project Runway in January of this year. Today, an NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment executive shared the company’s excitement over welcoming back Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, and Nina Garcia (sorry, Zac Posen, but Michael Kors was the designer judge back then): “This franchise will be an important cornerstone to complement Bravo’s original premium scripted and unscripted slate, and we expect it to drive the same level of fan-dom and passion as we experienced last time it was on Bravo.”