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NBC announces 'Fashion Star' fashion designer competition series


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/04/2011 

Former Project Runway producers Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth are getting back into the fashion competition show business.

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NBC has announced it has ordered Fashion Star, a new Project Runway-like reality competition series that will attempt to discover a fashion designer who can become America's next popular brand.

Hosted by former supermodel Elle Macpherson, Fashion Star will feature 12 unknown designers competing in a series of weekly fashion and business challenges that will end with one of them being crowned the next "Fashion Star" and winning a multi-million dollar contract to launch their own line in America's largest retail stores.

"Who better to host than Elle Macpherson -- her impeccable fashion sense and 30 years of experience building her eponymous brand are tremendous assets to the show and the designers," NBC reality chief Paul Telegdy said.

Fashion Star will be produced by Lipstiz and Cutforth's Magical Elves production company and Electus, a new multimedia studio that veteran reality TV producer and former NBC programming chief Ben Silverman founded in 2009.

The series was created by Silverman, Rick Ringbakk of 5x5 Media, and E.J. Johnston and James Deutch of the Global Fashion Association.

Lipsitz, Cutforth, Silverman, and Macpherson -- who currently serves as the host of Britain's Next Top Model -- will executive produce Fashion Star along with Ringbakk, Johnston and Deutch.

Lipsitz and Cutforth opted to leave Project Runway when The Weinstein Company, Runway's owners, struck a deal to move the show from Bravo to Lifetime in 2008. Instead, they signed an exclusive first look development deal with NBC Universal, the parent company of both NBC and Bravo.

Unlike Project Runway, which focuses on high-end women's fashion, Fashion Star will target a variety of casual fashion including dresses, suits, lingerie, denim, bathing suits, shoes, and accessories. Home viewers will also have the ability to purchase each week's winning designs both online and in stores the day after each episode airs.

Famous designers and buyers from American retailers will serve as judges for the competition, which will also provide the contestants with fashion industry experts to guide and mentor them.

"We are excited to team up with NBC to discover and develop the next major fashion brand for retailers around the country and deliver the next breakout television show for an audience that is increasingly obsessed with fashion," Silverman said.

"The stakes are higher than any other competitive reality show, as Fashion Star pulls back the curtain on what it really takes to launch a major national brand."



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