'Runway' shows its legs as Bravo finale sets record

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Talk about looking sharp. Wednesday's third-season finale of "Project Runway" set a viewership record for Bravo by a huge margin.

The hourlong episode that saw Los Angeles resident Jeffrey Sebelia emerge as the winner of the clothing design competition drew a whopping 5.4 million viewers in the 10 p.m. hour. That was well above Bravo's previous record high of 2.4 million viewers set in July with the season opener of "Runway." It also was strong enough to make "Runway" the top-rated program on cable for the night.

"To say we are pleased by last night's numbers would be an understatement," Bravo president Lauren Zalaznick said.

In adults 18-49, the "Runway" finale brought in a healthy 3.4 million viewers. The show also has been a boon to Bravo on digital and mobile platforms. On the BravoTV.com Web site, "Runway" hit a new show high with the heaviest traffic in network history, up 267% over the traffic on the "Runway" section last season. Additionally, page views were up 36% with 73 million and streaming video was up 38% with 5.1 million users, according to Bravo.

At 11 p.m., the sophomore-season bow of "Top Chef" weighed in with 1.9 million viewers as 15 new chefs began their culinary competition. "Chef" couldn't hold much of the "Runway" audience but did build 46% on the show's rookie-season bow in March. In adults 18-49, "Chef" averaged 1.3 million viewers.

In other cable ratings news, the third annual "VH1 Hip Hop Honors" drew 1.8 million viewers at 9 p.m. Tuesday. That marks an increase of 29% over last year's show. In 18-49, the program scored a 1.2 rating, up 33% over last year.
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