NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Only on April Fools' Day could cable's biggest and often cattiest programming dispute in years finally reach a resolution. NBC Universal and the Weinstein Co. settled their dispute over the rights to distribute "Project Runway" almost exactly one year after NBC sued the studio over a "sham negotiation" that granted programming rights to Lifetime for the show's sixth and all future seasons.
Under the terms of the new agreement, the Weinstein Co. will pay NBC Universal to effectively move "Runway" to Lifetime for its sixth season this summer, along with a previously announced companion series, "Models of the Runway." The new season of "Project Runway," which filmed in Los Angeles last fall, held its finale at New York Fashion Week in Bryant Park in February without revealing any of the designers, because all episodes and contestants of the show were still tied up in litigation. The first five seasons of "Project Runway" aired on NBC Universal's cable channel Bravo.
Weinstein Co. chief Harvey Weinstein said in a statement, "I want to personally congratulate Jeff Zucker and NBCU on their success in the litigation and thank Jeff for resolving this in a professional manner. We look forward to working together on our ongoing projects."
Andrea Wong, president-CEO of Lifetime Networks, said in a statement, "I couldn't be more excited that Lifetime will bring its viewers an amazing, all-new season of 'Project Runway' this summer."
As Ad Age previously reported, the sixth season of "Project Runway" will come with at least two new sponsors: Marie Claire, replacing Elle as the show's editorial partner now that judge Nina Garcia works for the Hearst fashion title as an editor-at-large, and Tresemme, which left the show after four seasons as its hair care sponsor for the CW's "Stylista." Elle made major strides in the fashion category as a direct result of its partnership with "Runway," going from the sixth-biggest magazine in ad pages to No. 2 in three years.