What does Lifetime Mean for the Fate of Project Runway?

So, great news! After a year of what has seemed like needlessly complicated lawsuits and negotiations, Project Runway has finally untangled itself enough to get an airdate on Lifetime this summer for its already-completed sixth season. We don’t really care so much about the details of the whos and whys and hows this all-popular show ended up in court (but if you’re interested, here’s a pretty good explanation). What we’re worried about is, will this new Pet Cemetery version of Project Runway be as good as the one we’ve grown to love?

Bravo is a funny network, isn’t it? And yet? Brilliant. Because think about it, even when you are watching a Bravo show, be it Top Chef or Make Me a Supermodel, one feels that while you might be watching fluffy garbage, it’s seamless, well-produced shiny garbage, which in fact translates to totally entertaining television. (In other words, it’s not VH1.)  Project Runway was always better than its imitators, partly because the contestants all have real skills and are forced to use them in a way that we, the viewer, can smugly watch and think “how mother-of-the-bride” (even when we can’t even sew a button without assistance). There’s awesome Tim Gunn, and bitchy Michael Kors and Nina Garcia, that pretty tall German lady, and usually a handful of truly talented designers. Season 4’s Christian Siriano has actually been able to make the leap to legit designer. And if season five only seemed memorable because of what a bitch that chick Kenley seemed to be, well at least it was always Good TV.

Although the sixth season has already wrapped, with the finale being held as usual at Bryant Park during fashion week, pictures of the clothing lines were duitifully posted on the internet. But without watching the weeks of lead-in, it was kind of hard to care (if a reality show falls in the forest…). We know that PR was filmed for the first time in Los Angeles (no Atlas apartments!) and – shriek! – contestants had to make do with some sort of weird faux-replication of Mood Fabrics (which does have a West Coast branch but was apparently too far away to actually shoot there). And there’s reportedly less time given to Nina Garcia and Michael Kors, who are said to only make “a handful of appearances.”

Will the show be able to retain its mysterious magic while away from the Bravo mothership? We’ll admit to tuning into Liftetime now and then for reruns of 90s fluff, but we’re woefully unfamiliar with its original programming. We’ll just have to tune in this summer to see if Lifetime can keep things as smooth and, er, seamless as we’re used to.