- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 6, 2005

Looking sharp

Coming off a debut season that snagged it an Emmy nomination for best reality-competition program, Bravo’s “Project Runway” is set to return on Dec. 7 with 16 new aspiring designers vying for the chance to launch their own clothing line.

Model Heidi Klum will return as host and judge of the “Survivor”-meets-the-fashion-world design competition, along with designer Michael Kors and “Elle” magazine fashion director Nina Garcia.

“The first season of ‘Project Runway’ generated incredible buzz and even more incredible designs,” says Lauren Zalaznick, president of Bravo. “We are thrilled to bring back this high-quality, high-drama series with new design challenges that inspire the creativity from the designers that viewers expect.”

As with season one, the would-be designers, who range in age from 22 to 51, will compete in a series of challenges at Parsons the New School for Design, guided by the New York school’s chairman, Tim Gunn. The winner will receive $100,000 in seed money to help start up a clothing line, a spread in Elle, a new car and a design mentorship at Banana Republic.

This season’s cast includes eight designers from Los Angeles, three from New York City, and one each from Houston, Jacksonville, Fla., Allentown, Pa., Atlanta, and Johannesburg.

More to come

USA’s Emmy-nominated alien abductee series “The 4400” won’t be going anywhere for a while. According to Zap2it.com, USA has requested another season of the acclaimed series, with production set to begin in January and new episodes slated to air summer 2006.

“Even in this increasingly competitive climate, renewing ‘The 4400’ was an easy call,” says Jeff Wachtel, head of original programming at USA. “Its compelling characters fit perfectly within the USA brand. And the creative team’s ability to balance story, character and ‘big themes’ really makes this show unique.”

The show’s short first season in 2004 earned three Emmy nominations, including one for outstanding miniseries. The second season, expanded to 13 episodes, consistently drew better than 4 million viewers.

The third season of “The 4400” will continue to follow the lives of the 4,400 abductees who returned to Earth in a giant ball of light and the government agents responsible for keeping track of the returnees and their sometimes supernatural abilities.

Third time’s the charm

Despite not-so-hot ratings for Martha Stewart’s new reality show, “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart,” and her daytime talk show, “Martha,” the homemaking maven is already at work on a third show, Associated Press reports. Mrs. Stewart’s company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, purchased a 2,500-square-foot, white antique Colonial built about 1880 in Norwalk, Conn., that will be the focus of a new home-improvement show next year.

The series, which has no name yet, is about a group of women who learn trades and help renovate the 125-year-old house.

The 13-part series will focus on six women who are coming off welfare programs, recovering from bankruptcy or getting out of drug rehabilitation.

Martha Stewart Living staff will choose mentors for the women.

“Our new home improvement series will inspire and inform, while mentoring and teaching valuable life skills, from repairing brickwork, laying flooring, painting rooms and installing a functional and lovely kitchen,” Mrs. Stewart said in a statement.

Compiled by Thomas Walter from Web and wire reports.

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