Road To The Runway Airs Ahead of Project Runway’s Return

Project Runway’s experiment with airing from September-December apparently didn’t work out for them, leaving the show to return to an August debut.

So much for airing like a real regular television show with a traditional Fall premiere start date. After last year’s experiment of moving Project Runway to air beginning at the end of September, nearly a month after finalists had shown dummy collections at New York Fashion Week, Lifetime has realized there’s a reason that doesn’t work, and adjusted back accordingly. Not all the way back to July, where the show should go, but mid August, which was the last place they had it.

Even so, they must be slightly nervous about that mid-August premiere date (August 17th, for those who are marking calendars as to when my recaps start), since this Thursday we’re getting the “Road To The Runway” episode, that usually airs the hour before the premiere. to the confusion of fans and DVRs everywhere.

The rollback to August is such a relief to us who cover the show. Last year’s finale aired in mid December and barely moved the needle in terms of audience interest, a huge downturn from Season 14, where the finale came before Thanksgiving to loud fanfare. Project Runway is also hedging their bets on more “plus sized” interest in the show after last year’s precipitous decline. Instead of having a plus sized designer, the models this season will be of varying sizes instead, forcing the designers to make outfits for real women all season. (We expect this means they’ll also get all that “I don’t make clothes for real people to wear” cliché bitching out early.)

For the first time in Project Runway history, season 16 breaks out of the conventional modeling mold and celebrates body diversity by incorporating size inclusive models on the catwalk. As a true reflection of all women across the country, models range from 0 to 22, and this season’s designers must show off their skills and ability to make stunning creations, for any size. Emmy® Award winning hosts and dynamic duo Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn return to the runway alongside fashion authorities, Nina Garcia, Marie Claire’s Creative Director and Zac Posen, designer and creative director for Brooks Brother Women for a super, sweet 16 season of #ProjectRunway, debuting Thursday, August 17 at 8pm ET/PT.

This also explains the odd and sudden disappearance of Project Runway All Stars from the schedule so far this year. They had a renewal for 2017, but had not aired yet. It is clearly going back to the spot between Project Runway and Project Runway Jr., and taking the “holiday break weeks” hit.

Photo by Barbara Nitke
Copyright 2017

Let’s check out the list of contestants we’ll be meeting tomorrow ahead of the premiere:

The Project Runway Season 16 designers are:

Aaron Myers (23) Brooklyn, NY
Amy Bond (46) Los Angeles, CA
Ayana Ife (27) Salt Lake City, UT
Batani-Khalfani (32) Inglewood, CA
Brandon Kee (24) San Francisco, CA
Claire Buitendorp (27) Grand Ledge, MI
Deyonté Weather (36) Lynwood, WA
Kentaro Kameyama (38) Los Angeles, CA
Kenya Freeman (37) Atlanta, GA
Kudzanai Karidza (32) Atlanta, GA
Margarita Alvarez (30) San Juan, PR
Michael Brambila (25) Oakland, CA
Samantha Rei (36) Minneapolis, MA
Sentell McDonald (33) New York, NY
Shawn Buitendorp (27) Grand Ledge, MI
ChaCha (24) Taipei, Taiwan

From the Press release:

Guest judges making their way to the runway this season include Demi Lovato, Katie Holmes, Olivia Munn, Yolanda Hadid, Kate Upton, Maggie Q, Kelsea Ballerini, Dove Cameron, China Anne McClain, Asia Kate Dillon, Carly Chaikin, Maddie Ziegler, Sophia Stallone, Georgina Chapman, Rachel Brosnahan and Anne Fulenwider.

Road to the Runway airs tomorrow. Our regular recaps begin next week.

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