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Tim Gunn: Weinsetin Co. made me remove 'Runway' references


By Christopher Rocchio, 09/06/2007 

Project Runway isn't mentioned anywhere in "Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style," which should come as a surprise considering the book's author is the Bravo reality competition series' well-known fashion guru. 

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But Tim Gunn says there's a reason why his book makes no specific mention of Project Runway -- because the legal department for The Weinstein Company (which co-produces Project Runway with Miramax Television) threatened Abrams Image, his book's publisher.

"Bravo's going to kill me for saying this, but I'm going to say it anyway," he told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer television critic Melanie McFarland prior to the May 1 release of the book, a conversation she recounted in a lengthy blog entry published Monday.  (McFarland didn't explain why Gunn's Project Runway omission explanation had previously gone unreported for over four months.)

"There were two references to the show in my book," Gunn continued.  "Very matter-of-fact, in sentences like, 'As I would say to my students at Parsons and the Project Runway designers...'.  Then it was in my bio in the book, and it was on the cover flap.  It all had to be removed."

"Abrams' lawyers said: 'This is a matter of fact.  It's indisputable, in terms of the biography... It's not as though we're promoting a trademarked name or anything of that sort,'" Gunn told the Post-Intelligencer.  "And the Weinstein lawyers said, 'If it's anywhere in the book, we will file an injunction and the book will not be permitted to be released.'  So I said to Abrams, 'Let's take the high road.  Let's just get rid of it.'"

Instead of mentioning Project Runway in his biography on the book's dust jacket flap, Gunn refers to the series as "the hit Bravo show in which aspiring fashion designers compete for a runway debut at New York's Fashion Week."

The Weinstein Co. denied Gunn's Project Runway book reference claims in a report published in Thursday's The New York Post.

"We adore Tim Gunn and this seems like a game of 'telephone' gone awry," a Weinstein spokesperson told The Post.  "The Weinstein Co. never prevented Tim's publisher from referencing Project Runway in the book."

"Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style" also happens to serve as a guide for Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, the new Gunn-hosted show that will premiere tonight at 10PM ET/PT on Bravo.  The show will follow Gunn and co-host Veronica Webb as they help transform hapless fashion dilemmas into stylish individuals.

The eight-episode series is being produced by Stone and Company, with Scott Stone and Sarah-Jane Cohen serving as executive producers.  But Gunn told the Post-Intelligencer he had hoped Project Runway's executive producers -- Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz of Magical Elves -- would have produced Tim Gunn's Guide to Style.

"They wanted, and I wanted and Bravo wanted them to do the Tim Gunn show," he told the Post-Intelligencer.  "But they had to decline because the Weinstein Company was calling the Tim Gunn show a spin off of Project Runway.  So if the Magical Elves would have done the production, Weinstein would have definitely said it was a spin off."

Regardless of his alleged ban from referencing Project Runway in his new book, Gunn will still return to his fashion guru role for the reality competition series' fourth season when it premieres sometime later this year.

"I'm just so proud of the show," he told the Post-Intelligencer.  "I'm exceedingly proud.  It's serious, it has great integrity, and we have a good time."

(Photo credit Bravo)


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