Sarah Jessica Parker developing new 'Runway'-like artists show
By Christopher Rocchio, 01/30/2008
Sarah Jessica Parker got a glimpse of how reality television works and apparently liked what she saw.
After appearing as a Project Runway guest judge last year, the Sex and the City star's Pretty Matches production company is developing a new reality competition series that would pit aspiring artists against each other, Daily Varietyreported Tuesday. Parker is developing the untitled project with Magical Elves' -- the same production company behind Project Runway and Top Chef.
Magical Elves' Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz -- who serve as executive producers for Project Runway and Top Chef -- were developing their own concept for a reality competition series centered around artists with former Miramax Television executive Eli Holzman, Variety reported.
Parker and her partner Alison Benson -- who had been developing their own project with a similar concept -- were then brought in, according to Variety.
"We ended up marrying the two formats," Cutforth told Variety.
The new reality series will follow 12 contestants as they compete in art-themed challenges, such as painting and photography or sculpting and industrial design, before having their creations rated by other contestants and a Project Runway- or Top Chef-like judging panel, Variety reported.
Cutforth characterized the art world as "risky creatively," but made sure to point out skeptics felt the same way about Project Runway.
"Art is a much more inclusive world than people think," he told Variety. "We really feel there's a way to show people how much they care about art in the same way Runway showed people how much they care about clothes. That accessibility is why we think the show can work."
Parker served as a guest judge during the second episode of Project Runway's currently-airing fourth season. The episode, which aired in November 2007, featured the designers competing to create a two-piece outfit for Parker's BITTEN fashion line.
"I loved it! Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and relive it!" Parker gushed to Bravo executive Andy Cohen in a November interview. "I loved it so much. I loved it. it was an experience of a lifetime."
While Cutforth told Variety it is possible Parker could appear onscreen for the show, she'll mostly work off-camera as an executive producer -- which isn't totally surprising considering she didn't really relish the opportunity to judge on Project Runway.
"I didn't want to judge," Parker told Cohen. "I felt it in my head, but watching the episode I didn't realize how much editing took place. I didn't realize it was an hour or more dedicated to discussion of the fashion, so watching on TV there's less nuance."
After being in the film and television industry for so long, Parker added she was a bit surprised she wasn't up to speed when it came to reality television.
"It was funny that after all these years I wouldn't know better how different the scale between real life and TV is," she told Cohen. "I kept saying, 'It's so much smaller and the runway looks so much different than it does on TV.' You end up saying everything that people say who've not worked in the industry for 30 years and are going into a studio for the first time. When you're in the audience it's a different feeling."
The show's concept will be pitched to various networks as soon as next week, Variety reported.