The migration of Project Runway from Bravo to Lifetime is getting ugly, and not Harvey Weinstein ugly — partition of India ugly. The fashion show won't actually move until November, but things are already bad, so bad, between the trendsetting supergays who TiVO Bravo and the spinster homebodies who drink white zinfandel until they pass out on their cats in front of Lifetime. Wrote a commenter on Dlisted: "Being on Lifetime ... automatically makes [Runway] not cool, trendy, or creative. Bravo is funny and gay. Lifetime is timid and stodgy." Doree Shafrir's mom at the Observer rounded up other examples of anti-Lifetime fearmongering by Runway fans, then quoted a Lifetime VP saying, "We care about women — we put them first." PUT WOMEN AHEAD OF GAY MEN, HUH?? Oh, it's on, and even the inevitable Chistian Siriano-mediated peace talks may not be able to turn it off. A bullet-point summary of each side's strategic strengths, distilled from the Observer piece by a party not directly involved in the dispute, after the jump.
Gays would rule the show because:
- Women, or at least Lifetime's women, are not snarky enough: "Lifetime's untrammeled earnestness — eagerness, even — comes off as distinctly uncool. And tucked within online commenters' anxieties about whether Lifetime would keep Project Runway gay was the fear that Lifetime, in its implied anti-irony stance, would, therefore, be resistant to kitsch and camp and sarcasm, and perhaps leave on the cutting-room floor the bitchy asides that the PR contestants make."
- For example, instead of ultra-uplifting makeover show How To Look Good Naked, Bravo has Tim Gunn's Guide To Style, which involves eye-rolling. Gunn and "his co-host, Veronica Webb, make fun of their subjects and their awful wardrobes/haircuts behind their backs, even as they do make them undeniably more attractive in the end... It's funny, ironic, hip."
- They have grass-roots operations online, like at Project Rungay, whose co-editor told the Observer, "They talk about the show in terms of it being a women's show... We're living proof that that's not entirely the case. It has a very large gay viewership."
- Golden Girls. You are going to leave Runway in the hands of the ladies who put that on Lifetime's programming lineup?
- The gays are more finicky.
Women would rule the show because:
- Um, they just paid $150 million for it.
- They have already co-opted their very own gay! Carson Kressley of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy has since January hosted Lifetime's How to Look Good Naked, "an Oprah-fied version of Extreme Makeover... featuring rather overweight, depressed women with negative amounts of self-confidence who, thanks to Mr. Kressley's relentless cheerleading and a haircut, become the women they were meant to be."
- There are these two new lady top executives at Lifetime, Andrea Wong and Susanne Daniels who are, in Daniels' words, "working toward making the brand cool, one way or another." How positively lovely!
Hopefully the two sides will eventually work things out, with Lifetime promising gays equal rights within its borders, and the gays apologizing for calling Lifetime a ginormous cow. Because it's not like you can just recreate these reality-based fashion shows.