By Tom Gliatto Liza Hamm Monica Rizzo
August 31, 2009 12:00 PM


Lifetime, Thursdays, 10 p.m. ET/PT |


It may be true—to quote supermodel and sage Heidi Klum—that one day you’re in, the next you’re out, but Project Runway’s comeback wound up taking almost a year. Since season 5’s finale, the Runway buzz has been less about fashion than entertainment law: The move from Bravo to Lifetime threw the whole thing temporarily into the courts. Now relocated to Los Angeles (with a new, franchise-building spinoff, Models of the Runway, airing right after it), the show isn’t noticeably different from, well, last year’s model. Tim Gunn remains one of the few great achievements of reality programming: a combination of mentor, valet and saint who’s able to slip in gently pointed little critiques like, “I’m worried this is going to look like a halter diaper.”

The first night’s challenge was to create a red carpet gown in two days for $200, and the result was wall-to-wall bad taste. But that’s the fun of the runway.