Usually the week before Project Runway starts there is a noticeable buzz in the air—at least in circles who obsess about the show. This year the mood seems more like Christmas Eve in Israel. Why the collective shrug?
Of course it's Lifetime's fault. It's the exact same show, other than the fact it's set in L.A. and now on Lifetime. Sure, the show's new network is advertising the design competition's debut in magazines and subway cars and on television, but it's not getting the traction that Bravo's campaigns always did—possibly because the ads only show host Heidi Klum and the show's mentor/mascot Tim Gunn, and not any of the contestants. Even though the finale for season six has already been filmed, it seems like we know nothing about the new batch of designers that will be bitching about bobbins starting Thursday.
Also, Bravo knew how to bring the mania up to a fever pitch. They would advertise a new season relentlessly and show marathons of previous seasons for entire weekends getting the fans back in the mood. Lifetime doesn't have that luxury. Also, we spend a lot of time watching Bravo (hello, various Housewives, Flipping Out, Top Chef, and Andy Cohen) and only tune into Lifetime to catch the odd Golden Girls rerun. Even if they did have spots for the new season, we wouldn't see them.
And just today, the channel that specializes in television for women (and gay men), sent out a press release alerting the world that Runway has a MySpace page. MySpace?! Is it 2005? A show about fashion can not afford to be out of touch. It's all about Facebook and Twitter these days. Oh, speaking of Facebook, Lifetime's version of the show is on there and has 25,413 fans whereas the Bravo seasons have 122,534 fans. Burn.
Lifetime just doesn't seem to have the street cred to carry this thing off. No matter what they do, their Runway will always be a knock off purse compared to Bravo's Louis Vuitton. It may look the same, smell the same, and even have the same logo, but we all know it came from Canal Street and there is nothing you can do to sell it as the real thing.
Or, as a huge fan of the show more succinctly told us when asked if he was excited about the new show: "L.A.? Lifetime? No."