PROJECT RUNWAYDo you hear that slight ringing sound? That’s the death knell for Project Runway.

Well, maybe not dead, but if this isn’t its last season, it’s in earshot.

Last year, Lifetime buried the lead when they casually mentioned that Michael Kors would be back only for the finale, with Zan Posen replacing him in the judge’s chair. At the time, I felt it was a mistake, and felt the decision basically meant Kors was off the show for good. No, folks emailed me — he’ll be back. It was just a “scheduling issue.”


The new season begins July 18, and the judges, once again, are Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Posen, with the addition of Tim Gunn not only as mentor but spy now, filling in the trio of behind-the-scenes goings-on, and even exercising a veto to save a designer. Tinker, tailor, solider, spy indeed, Mr. Gunn.

And there will be virtually no role for Kors this season.

This isn’t good news. Posen is a good designer but makes for dull TV. (Remember last season’s creepy “I go to high school proms every week” non-sequitur?) Season 11 was the dullest since the first season on Lifetime. The addition of a mystery contestant and Gunn’s new role have the whiff of desperation to prop up an aging series. (And this season no Texans among the 16 designers.)

It may be time to say, “Auf Wiedershesen.”