According to eyewitnesses at Monday’s William Morris Agency shindig (held indoors at the Museum of Modern Art), The Weinstein Co.’s Harvey Weinstein walked into the party — and immediately into a gaggle of NBC Universal suits, including network/studio co-chairman Marc Graboff.
Weinstein gave Graboff a bear hug, the observers said, and strongly suggested that the two sides put their differences behind them.
That, of course, is a large order: Peacock last month filed suit in New York Supreme Court against "Project Runway" producer the Weinstein Co., asserting the shingle violated NBC and Bravo’s right of first refusal.
Insiders say the Weinstein Co. would like to settle — and is concerned that all of the press surrounding the dispute may have a negative impact on the franchise.
But that any settlement that NBC might sign off on probably wouldn’t go over well at Lifetime, which signed a five-year deal to take over the show — cable’s top-rated reality skein — effective November.
At the very least, NBC would want the Weinsteins to hold off on launching season six — the first for Lifetime — in the fall. Peacock execs believe that’s cutting too close to the wrap of Bravo’s fifth and final "Runway" edition. But Lifetime has already announced the November launch.
Another insider, however, pooh-poohed the notion that settlement talks could be in the offing. Both sides have made their positions clear in the past: Peacock claimed TWC didn’t give NBC U proper notification that another party had made an offer for "Runway," and that as a result, the sale to Lifetime is invalid, while the Weinstein Co. has said that NBC, quite simply, didn’t put out an aggressive bid and that the law suit is "sour grapes."
Ultimately, things remained civil at the party, but no hatchet was buried. NBC U topper Jeff Zucker did joke that he hadn’t seen Weinstein driving his kids to school lately — a reference to Weinstein’s quip at the Lifetime upfronts that he’d start chauffeuring Zucker’s household around town as a way to get back in his good graces.
– Michael Schneider