According to Project Runway star Tim Gunn, Lifetime's fear of The Fashion Show -- Bravo's new upcoming Runway replacement knockoff -- is the reason why Lifetime won't be premiering Runway's already-filmed sixth season until this summer.

"You want to know what's really holding up the start date?" Gunn told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in an interview published Thursday.

"Bravo has a new show on called The Fashion Show. And Lifetime doesn't want to start until that is over with. I guess they think people won't watch two fashion shows. I don't know why. I would."

If true, Gunn's allegation would add a new element to the saga surrounding Project Runway -- which began last April when Lifetime Networks and The Weinstein Company announced a five-year deal to bring Project Runway to Lifetime from Bravo beginning with the reality series' sixth season, which Lifetime had initially intended to debut in November 2008.

However on the same day the deal was announced, Bravo's NBC Universal parent company responded by filing a lawsuit in New York Supreme Court against The Weinstein Company, alleging that it had a contractual right to have an opportunity to match any offer for Project Runway's rights.

In addition, NBC Universal argued in the lawsuit that a clause in its original contract with The Weinstein Company would have prevented any network that acquired Project Runway's rights from broadcasting the show for a year after it left Bravo. 

NBC's lawsuit further claimed that the network had agreed to drop that clause in exchange for "a promise" from The Weinstein Company that it would have a right of first refusal that would give it the opportunity to match another network's Project Runway bid.

Then while Project Runway's fate was still in legal limbo in October, Bravo announced it had ordered The Fashion Show -- a new Project Runway-like reality series that will pit clothing designers against one another but, unlike Runway, allow home viewers to decide the ultimate winner.  The network subsequently began casting for the series in November.

NBC Universal, The Weinstein Company, and Lifetime Networks announced that the legal dispute surrounding Project Runway's rights had been resolved earlier this month.

However on the same day the three sides resolved the dispute, Bravo also announced The Fashion Show will premiere Thursday, May 7 at 10PM ET/PT.

The Weinstein Company CEO Harvey Weinstein then subsequently stated that Project Runway's sixth season -- which filmed its finale in February at New York Fashion Week -- will premiere on Lifetime on August 15, however Lifetime has yet to confirm the date.

Despite Project Runway fans presumably being eager for the show's sixth season, Gunn said it will be worth the wait -- especially due to a memorable challenge.
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"There is one challenge where the outcome will send the blogs reeling. It is unprecedented in Project Runway history. I am still full of incredulity about the whole thing - about who wins and who goes home," he told the Sun-Sentinel.

"All I can tell you a certain judge says she would like to wear the winning dress. Well, you know we auction off the winning dresses at the end of the show for charity. I am going to bid and get that dress and make her wear it. I don't care how much it costs, I'm going to get it. This challenge is spine-tingling. You will be spellbound. My jaw was in a slack state."