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‘Runway’ a runaway hit for Bravo

2 mil tune in for series finale

More than 2 million people tuned in to the two-hour finale of Bravo’s fashion competish “Project Runway” Wednesday.

Show delivered a series high and the best demo numbers Bravo has seen since the heyday of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.”

Cabler executives are rushing to finalize details for another cycle. Bravo even broadcast a call for second season contestants during the finale.

“Runway” delivered Bravo’s highest ever Wednesday night numbers and posted a solid 1.0/2 in key 25-54 demo, faring even better among younger auds in the 18-34 (1.1/3) and 18-49 (1.0/3) categories.

More impressive, NBC U cable chief Jeff Gaspin says, is the show’s quick build. Skein has grown 468% since its December launch, which was watched by just 354,000 total viewers.

“We were disappointed in the initial ratings, but we knew we had a really good show on our hands,” Gaspin said. “I think word of mouth kicked in once the characters became better defined. That’s really what makes or breaks reality television. You need great characters and a simple premise.”

Ratings for “Runway,” from Miramax TV and “Project Greenlight” exec producers Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz, are an especially bright spot for the cabler. It has had disappointing Nielsens for heavily marketed spinoff “Queer Eye for the Straight Girl,” which collected just 436,000 viewers for its most recent new episode.

“Runway,” which follows aspiring fashion designers as they compete for a big-time contract, boosted Bravo to the No. 1 spot among ad-supported cablers for the night and pulled in the youngest median age (34.4) in the cabler’s history.

“I don’t think people understood in the beginning how entertaining the fashion world is,” Gaspin said. “When (Bravo prexy Lauren Zalaznick) and I did the ‘Fashion Awards’ at VH1, it never did huge ratings.”

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