Runway” is the biggest show on Bravo right now, and for reality television
aficionados, it’s more or less appointment television. Or at least that’s what
pop culture vultures and competitive television reporters such as myself would
have you believe.
Of course, I wouldn’t know of the phenomenon first hand, having only seen ONE
episode. And even that was an off-broadcast rerun on NBC, Bravo’s broadcast
If Lifetime gets its way, then that will soon change. The Weinstein Company, the
production company that produces the hit series, has announced that the show
will pull up stakes and move to the network for women.
Not soon after, those plans were put on hold as NBC Universal, parent company of
Bravo, sued the Weinsteins to keep the show on its station. The suit alleges
right of first refusal for the show that launched many a competition on the
network, from “Top Chef” to the more recent “Step It Up & Dance”. Harvey
Weinstein counters with a need to see the franchise grow.
My advice to NBC Universal... Let them have it. Even The Price is Right moved to
ABC after a while.
Let’s go over a couple of things. First of all, Bravo is not the house that
Project Runway built, as much as they’ll have you believe that. They have “Top
Chef”. They have “Shear Genius.” They have “Top Design”. They have “Make Me a
Supermodel”. They have “Step It Up...”. A loss of one show, albeit its most
popular one, will not kill them.
Second, let’s go back to a running gag that often appears on WLTI. I live in
Fayetteville, NC, the fourth largest metro in the state behind Charlotte
Metrolina, the Research Triangle, and the Piedmont Triad. My cable system has
many sports channels, an entire tier of Spanish networks, two channels devoted
to baby-boomer-and-older programming, and a myriad of, erm, entertainment
options for the adult viewer. But no Bravo. I either have to get a satellite
dish or move up the road to Raleigh (and don’t get me wrong, I’d LOVE to move to
the Raleigh area... preferably Chapel Hill. It would make getting a drink that
The point is that while most everyone with a cable box has Lifetime, not
everyone has access to Bravo. This move can only serve to increase the audience
of the show, especially if it’s slotted correctly.
So why all
the fracas? Simple answer: holding onto a proven investment. Other than "Deal or
No Deal" and whatever they have running on Thursday nights, NBC is falling on
hard times, and "Runway" has proven a winner among their target audience of
well-to-do alpha consumer women and their gay male friends. So it would make
sense that they would want to hold onto a moneymaker. After all, it made stars
out of host Heidi Klum and tough-as-nails critic Tim Gunn.
every good relationship, there comes a time where you have to let go. If it
comes back, it was yours to begin with, but if you hold on too tightly, you're
going to run the risk of having the show lose relevance in an ever-changing
reality TV world.
Game Show Alphabet Redux
Going to “D” this week, and while it’s easy to just throw “Deal or No Deal” in
because of its popularity these days, or “Double Dare” because, hey, what child
of the 80s didn’t grow up on “Double Dare”, I’m going with a favorite that, in
1997, proved that a creatively staged trivia show could indeed work in this day
and age. I’ll ignore that it was basically lower-scaled Jeopardy! for the first
season, but it proved its kitsch factor as “the return of the game show” and
inadvertently made Frank Nicotero a star... even though he wasn’t a host.
25 Days that Rocked the Game Show World: Day 17
One of game show’s early wunderkinds started out as merely a servant to another,
but upon finding success for his house with three of television’s most treasured
formats, the man with a way of words decided to strike out on his own.
September 3, 1965 - Bob Stewart Leaves Goodson-Todman
Born Robert Steinberg in Brooklyn, New York in 1920, Stewart first gained fame
in the game show world for creating two new shows in 1956 for genre titans Mark
Goodson and Bill Todman. The first was an idea he got while working at the TV
station now known as WNBC. On November 26 of that year, “The Price is Right” was
born on NBC. The show would air on all big three stations at one time or
another. Little more than a month later, “To Tell the Truth”, Stewart’s second
hit for Goodson-Todman, first hit the airwaves.
Five years later in 1961, Bob Stewart began carving his niche with the first
airing of word-association game “Password”. Along with G-T staffers Frank Wayne,
Chester Feldman, and Gil Fates, Stewart had earned Goodson’s respect not only
for his creativity, but for his execution.
After the end of “Price’s” original run in 1965, Stewart left the firm and
concentrated on his own production company, its first series being memory game
“Eye Guess” in 1966 with longtime friend Bill Cullen at the helm. Further
success would come with “The $10,000 Pyramid” in 1972, “Jackpot!” in 1974, and
“Chain Reaction” in 1980.
Today, Stewart is enjoying the fruits of his labor as he watches his son Sande
pick up where he left off as an innovator and a producer (notable productions
include “Your Number’s Up”, “Inquizition”, “Hollywood Showdown”, and “Powerball
Chico Alexander has this as an e-mail address (You: