Holly Moore from Yankelovich writes:
The latest television programming kerfuffle over the U.S. fashion reality TV show Project Runway is telling us something interesting about both the future of the reality genre, and the increasing visibility of life coaching.
For new readers, the kerfuffle goes like this. The producers of Project Runway, now a four seasons-old hit, are trying to move the show from Bravo (the U.S. cable network owned by NBC Universal) to Lifetime Television, a cable network that’s looking to diversify beyond programming that’s often about women in crisis. NBC claims it still has the rights to future seasons, and so, inevitably, is suing the producers.
But viewers are more likely to worry about the future of the person who has become America’s favorite mentor, Tim Gunn. Unlike many reality show stars, Tim’s the compassionate master of constructive criticism and tough love. Gunn is the tutor we all hope to have and the manager all managers should strive to be. (I recall an Echo Boomershow and a big gig as the creative chief at Liz Claiborne. comedian once saying, “I so wish he was my gay dad.”) His popularity and fashion judgment have already earned him his own
We talk a great deal about the importance of coaching in the Yankelovich MONITOR. And in an era in which so many of us under 40 were raised to think that we were unconditionally special, it’s rather remarkable to find a voice who can find the balance between nurturing growth and encouraging exploration while still reinforcing objective standards of excellence.
So while the courts decide where viewers should ultimately tune in, hopefully content creators will notice how quickly Gunn’s brand star rose – and the void he filled in the landscape of back-biting reality programming – to help make Project Runway a TV brand worth fighting for.
(Image from BravoTV.com)