Klum and husband Seal to counsel marriage couples
Lifetime is once again expanding its “Project Runway” universe.The femme-centric cabler is developing two new projects that come with a “Runway” sheen. The first one features former “Runway” contestants Santino Rice and Austin Scarlett. The other project, in an earlier stage of development, will star “Runway” host Heidi Klum and her popstar husband, Seal. The Rice-Scarlett show comes out of Lifetime’s output deal with the Weinstein Co., sealed when the two entities made their blockbuster $150 million deal in 2008. That controversial pact, of course, led to a legal showdown between NBC Universal (whose Bravo cabler previously carried “Runway”), Weinstein and Lifetime — a faceoff that was eventually settled, allowing Lifetime to get into the “Runway” business. Both of the new shows were developed at Lifetime by exec veep JoAnn Alfano. “Runway” has been a bit of a ratings disappointment for Lifetime, although it did spawn a second franchise for the channel, “Models of the Runway.” And it now may give Lifetime two more unscripted franchises. The Santino/Austin series will follow the quirky duo as they cross the country finding women in need of a fashion makeover. “Project Runway” alum Rich Bye, who worked on the show early in its run, is on board to exec produce the show. Interestingly, both Rice and Scarlett became stars back when “Project Runway” ran on original home Bravo. Scarlett was a fourth-place finalist on the show’s inaugural season in 2004 and became known for his over-the-top appearance. Rice, meanwhile, was the second-runner-up in season two of “Runway” and became a star thanks to his impersonation of “Runway” mentor Tim Gunn. Both have used their “Runway” fame as a jumping board to careers in fashion as well as additional TV work. Rice has appeared on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” while Scarlett has been hired as a fashion correspondent for multiple networks. Bye, meanwhile, is no stranger to series starring “Runway” alums, having worked on Bravo’s “Project Jay,” featuring season one winner Jay McCarroll, and the Bravo pilot “Laura Bennett,” starring the season three contestant. Bye’s other credits include “American High,” “America’s Next Producer” and “Growing Up Gotti.” As for the Klum/Seal project, which does not yet have a production company attached, the couple plan to travel the country to help couples in need of coaching. Tentative title: “Love’s Divine.” Klum has hosted and exec produced “Runway” since its 2004 launch.