Amazon Buys ‘Fashion Fund’ Reality Series from Conde Nast

Amazon, delving further into reality programming, has picked up a new season of “The Fashion Fund,” an original unscripted series from Condé Nast Entertainment featuring designers facing off for a $400,000 grand prize.

The 10-episode half-hour series features Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and Diane von Furstenberg, chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, overseeing this year’s fourth-month competition with 10 designers pitching their ideas to a panel of judges. “Fashion Fund” will come to Amazon Prime in 2016.

The pact comes on the heels Amazon’s deal with the team from hit BBC show “Top Gear” — Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May — for three seasons of a new motoring show for Amazon Prime, with the first slated to launch in 2016.

Amazon’s pickup of “The Fashion Fund” demonstrates the e-commerce giant’s interest in expanding into new genres; reality has not been a hot category among subscription VOD services. The first two seasons of the show aired on the Ovation cable channel.

A big part of Amazon’s motivation in this case is to drive sales of merchandise. With the exclusive pact for “The Fashion Fund” Amazon will launch a dedicated retail section on its Amazon Fashion site for customers to shop a curated selection of the spring 2016 collections of the show’s 2015 finalists.

On Amazon Prime, “The Fashion Fund” episodes will be released on a weekly basis — another departure from the SVOD standard practice of releasing entire seasons in binge-friendly batches. The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund judge panel will select winners at an event in L.A. at the end of October, and they’ll be announced in November.

The show is being produced by Condé Nast Entertainment and Break Thru Films’ Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg.

The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund was established in 2003 to foster American design talent. To date the program has granted $4.3 million to more than 30 designers and companies. For the 2015 competition, the grand-prize winner will receive $400,000 and two runners-up will cash $150,000 checks.

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