The Weinsteins are continuing their world-record pace for industry alienation this week, now leveling a lawsuit against Bravo alleging the network deliberately sabotaged season five of Project Runway. It's roughly the 22nd chapter in this year's tortured history between the brothers and Bravo's parent company at NBC Universal since the pair attempted to sneak PR off to Lifetime (a judge issued an injunction against the move last month following Bravo's own suit), yet wielding all the climactic juice that last week's season finale seemed to lack. Which is exactly the problem, according to Harvey and Bob.Recalling our own concerns from earlier this summer, when it looked like Bravo had handed the hit show's marketing campaign to an intern and the night janitor, the Weinsteins filed papers last Friday saying the network went out of its way to torpedo the franchise rather than see it flourish elsewhere. We can vouch for that on one hand — this season's competitor crop was no doubt the messiest of hot tranny messes to befall the series — but Weinstein Co. lawyers plan to unpack the real faux pas in court:
TWC said some of the things Bravo did to sabotage the ratings and value of the show included changing the show's airtime; running a small number of ads; creating "mundane and unappealing" ads; providing little information for the press about the season premiere; and revealing spoilers about future episodes. The company also alleges that when Bravo began to suspect that the show might move to a rival network, it created "copycat shows" based on the Runway format. Bravo's parent company, NBC Universal, said in a statement: "Not only do we categorically disagree with the Weinstein's Co.'s assertions, but the fact is that Season 5 was the most-watched and highest-rated Project Runway cycle ever."
Yes and no, notes one observer, who points out that Bravo's bookkeeping creatively combined the season finale's first airing and rerun for a "a whopping 7.158 million total viewers," adding that the episode featuring Leanne Marshall's win was down nearly 300,000 viewers from 2007's Siriano crowning (and twice that many from the '06 finale). Bravo's defense team, meanwhile, bristled at the claim it featured "mundane and unappealing" ads; surely they didn't pack the complex, half-ass quality of the stick figures pushing the Weinsteins' Zack and Miri Make a Porno, but really — what does? Prepare to add another notch in the Weinstein "loss" column.