'Runway' producers ink with NBC Uni, won't follow show

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Dueling fashion divas have nothing on the ongoing tug-of-war drama between NBC Universal and the Weinstein Co. over the cable hit "Project Runway."

On Monday, "Runway" producers Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz confirmed that they will not follow the hit series when it moves to Lifetime.

The revelation came on the same day NBC Uni announced an exclusive first-look deal for Cutforth and Lipsitz's company Magical Elves to produce broadcast, cable and digital properties. NBC Universal also said that it has filed a request for a preliminary injunction to prevent "Runway" owners the Weinstein Co. from marketing and promoting the show's Lifetime version.

"I've worked with Jane and Dan for over 10 years," Universal Television Group president and COO Jeff Gaspin said. "They are great producers with original voices and a special knack for casting. Their track record of success speaks for itself."

The producers claim that their decision to quit the show had nothing to do with the development deal, but sources pointed to the long list of Magical Elves shows under the NBC Universal tent as a key factor in the decision to exit a popular series. Cutforth and Lipsitz also produce Bravo's "Top Chef," "Step It Up and Dance" and "Top Design" as well as NBC's "Last Comic Standing."

"The two decisions were made independent of each other," Cutforth said. (partialdiff)
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