Entering tonight’s Project Runway season 17 finale, it makes sense to look ahead towards the show’s season 18 future. It is somewhat ambiguous, but at the same time, absolutely fascinating.
Project Runway season 17 represented such a seismic change for the franchise. It was the first season on Bravo in years following a lengthy stint at Lifetime, and beyond that it also moved on from Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn as its notable on-air talent. Supermodel Karlie Kloss came on board as the new host and was joined by Christian Siriano, arguably one of the show’s most-famous alumni stepping into the Gunn role. These were switches that could have easily bombed, but the show has proven instead to find itself a solid audience that are embracing their new hosts.
While we wouldn’t say that the season 17 ratings have been through the roof, they’ve been reasonably steady, averaging a 0.3 rating in the 18-49 demographic in recent weeks in live viewing. It’s comparable to a lot of other reality series that are out there and with the name recognition of this brand, it’s going to continue to find itself more viewers. We actually think that over time, there is room for so much more growth provided that the series can find itself the best potential outlets for itself — think in terms of cross-promotion and Bravo using its brand to the fullest with Andy Cohen’s media empire, Watch What Happens Live, and even his radio program. Bravo has a much larger a promotional infrastructure than Lifetime ever did — even if, at the same time, the show doesn’t have the same names attached to it that it once did.
For now, we’d say that we are cautiously optimistic about the future of Project Runway. The ratings are solid enough to justify a renewal and beyond just that, we think that Bravo wouldn’t have gone through all of this trouble to revive a series and bring in new talent if they weren’t convinced that they wanted it around for a while. We imagine that a renewal will officially come out in the months to come, but we hope that the show avoids some of the pitfalls of the past and just keep things simple — we don’t need anywhere near the spin-offs/offshoots that were once out there. We’d prefer that they just focus on the flagship for the next few years, build that up and not worry about anything else. There don’t need to be too many projects on this metaphorical runway!
As for when we would expect a Project Runway season 18 to air, we expect Bravo to make it a relatively stable tradition like another show in Top Chef. That series tends to premiere in the late fall/early winter, so we imagine that this one will stick around as a late winter/early spring institution.
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What do you want to see in terms of Project Runway season 18? Be sure to share now in the comments. (Photo: Bravo.)