How the mighty are falling. The once proud Project Runway, winner of highly esteemed Peabody awards and beloved of many an affluent gay tastemaker, has been in a tailspin since the announcement was made that the show would be moving to Lifetime (television for Women). The fashion design competition show has but one short season left on Bravo, where it has helped shape and brand the once obscure network. And, hey, it starts next week! Did you know this? I certainly didn't. Where is the typical tsunami of press releases and meet-the-cast rosters and, um, internet advertising? TV writers won't even get a screener until Monday, two short days before the season premiere. What gives?
Theories have been put forth that Bravo doesn't really want to spend money on a show that it's losing, but I don't buy it. Look at all the promoting they did for their silly A List Awards. That was only for one night, and you'd have thought the pope was coming to town there was so much fanfare. There are still advertising and branding dollars to be made here, and Bravo has to know that. Others have suggested that the new cast members are total weirdos, and Bravo hasn't figured out how to represent them. Which is also hooey, because if you can market Andre and Vincent, you can market anyone. No, I like to think that Bravo is cooling the promotional jets out of good old fashioned spite. They're mad at Lifetime for poaching and they're mad at the Weinstein Co. for pulling the rug out from under them. They want to bury the show so by the time it gets over to Lifetime, no one will even remember that something called the L'Oreal Paris Makeup Room ever existed. Hell, their good friends the Magical Elves aren't producing once it goes to Lifetime, so they wouldn't really be screwing over any associates (except, you know, Heidi and Tim et al). And I think it's working!
I can't believe I didn't know that the new season was coming up so soon. I could be considered a "gay person" and a "big fan" of the show, never miss an episode, etc. And yet my interest, and it would seem the interest of others, has dwindled. Maybe it's because people realize that it's just a tacky moneymaking opportunity for greedy old Harvey Weinstein. Maybe the whole Nina Garcia kerfluffle tired people out. Or maybe the impending move to the ruined canyons of Los Angeles has got people scratching their heads and saying "Auf." Bravo's relative radio silence-their website has some PR-related content including a half-hearted countdown, but nothing substantial about the new season-has managed to compound and reduce all this gossipy buzz about the Changes for Heidi, which has the potential to lure in viewers, to a bored, resounding "meh." Way to fuck 'em, Bravo! Nobody fucks 'em like the gays.