NBCU To Respond to Lifetime's 'Project Runway' Gambit

NBC Universal says it isn't going to stand by while Lifetime tries to make a federal case out of Project Runway.

NBC Universal says it isn't going to stand by while Lifetime tries to make a federal case out of Project Runway.

Look for NBCU to make its own filing in federal court to block Lifetime's move to escalate the state court fight over rights to future cycles of the reality fashion show, which has been a huge hit for NBCU's Bravo cable channel. The Lifetime deal to take the show away is worth $200 million, according to court papers.

"Hours before the State Court judge was to set a trial schedule, Lifetime chose to pursue legal maneuvers to shift the case to Federal Court, which will only delay the proceedings," NBC Unversal said in a statement. "[We] will vigorously fight this 11th hour move and intend to file legal papers seeking to remand the case to State Court."

On Friday, Lifetime sought to have the case moved to that federal court. “Any issue relating to Lifetime’s exclusive right to air future cycles of Project Runway is a matter of federal copyright law and therefore should be heard by a federal court," the company said in its statement. "We continue to believe that Lifetime has rights superior to NBCU’s claimed right of first refusal on future cycles of Project Runway.”

NBC and Runway producers The Weinstein Co. had been scheduled to confer with the New York State Supreme Court in New York first Oct. 15, the same day the finale to season five of the show aired on Bravo. That conference was moved to Friday, but never happened after Lifetime made the move to take it to a higher court.

NBC obtained an injunction in the New York State Supreme Court last month against the move of the sixth cycle of the show to Lifetime, making the case that The Weinstein Co. had violated its contract with NBCU to give it the chance to hold onto future cycles of the show before Weinstein struck a deal to sell it to Lifetime.