'Real World' producer taking over reality show
Bunim-Murray is close to signing on as the new producer behind “Project Runway.”The “Real World” producer has been in talks with the Weinstein Co. for weeks about taking over the gig in time for the hit reality show’s sixth season and first on Lifetime. Magical Elves, which originated the show for the Weinsteins (and their former Miramax label) at Bravo, recently sealed a production deal with NBC Universal (Daily Variety, May 5). Because of their commitment at NBC U, Magical Elves won’t be making the move to Lifetime (where the show bows in November). Bunim-Murray is no stranger to Lifetime, having recently produced “America’s Psychic Challenge” for the cabler. Company’s other recent credits include E!’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and “Living Lohan.” It also produces “Bad Girls Club” for Oxygen. In choosing Bunim-Murray to take over the franchise, TWC and Lifetime went with a company that knows the reality space well, having produced 21 seasons of “The Real World.” In the competition space, its credits include the music shows “Making the Band” and “Born to Diva.” Bunim-Murray also recently produced the doc “Autism: The Musical” for HBO. Beyond the production company shift, “Project Runway” already promises to look dramatically different on Lifetime — which shelled out $150 million to snag the show — as it’s shifting production from New York to Los Angeles. The faces aren’t changing, however: Host Heidi Klum, mentor Tim Gunn and judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia are all signed to return. As for Magical Elves, the company may not be involved in Lifetime’s version of “Runway,” but it’s still collaborating with the femme-centric net, where its one-hour pilot “Arranged Marriage” is in development. “Project Runway’s” fifth and final season on Bravo, set to air this summer, will be the last under the auspices of Magical Elves. The producer shift reps the latest twist in the “Runway” saga, which came to light in April after Lifetime announced its deal with TWC for the show. NBC U sued the Weinstein Co., arguing that its right of first refusal to keep the skein on Bravo was violated.