- The Washington Times - Monday, February 23, 2009

‘Runway’ mayday

“Project Runway” taped its sixth-season finale Friday, but something was missing: the finalists.

Because of a legal battle, three unknown designers sent their collections down the runway at the tents in Bryant Park on the final day of New York Fashion Week. Because the cast has not been announced, the finalists stayed hidden backstage, Associated Press reported.

Host Heidi Klum told the audience she was “a little bit sad” the finalists couldn’t have their moment in the spotlight after working so hard to get there.

“This year is gonna be a little bit different for us, for all of you, for our designers backstage. … We’re all in a bit of a limbo, and we hope that everything gets sorted out very soon,” Miss Klum said.

The new season of “Project Runway,” which aired for five seasons on Bravo, has been delayed because of a legal battle involving NBC Universal, which owns Bravo; the Weinstein Co.; and the Lifetime Channel, Variety says.

NBC Universal sued Weinstein after the production company made a reported $150 million deal with Lifetime for the series, which features Miss Klum, designer Michael Kors and Marie Claire Fashion Director Nina Garcia on the judges panel.

International Herald Tribune editor Suzy Menkes was a guest judge for the finale. The new season was filmed in Los Angeles instead of New York, home of the previous five seasons.

In September, a New York Supreme Court justice issued a temporary injunction preventing Weinstein from taking “Runway” or any spinoff to Lifetime and contended that evidence showed Weinstein had violated NBC’s “right of first refusal” for the show.

Weinstein has said there was no right of first refusal in the contract and that NBC Universal was offered the deal and was outbid.

The sixth season had been expected to start airing on Lifetime in January.

Aiken on ‘ANTM’

First, the bad news. Season-two “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken has parted ways with RCA.

A source said Mr. Aiken left the label a couple of months ago, on the heels of his 2008 album “On My Way Here.”

That set sold just 159,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. His 2003 debut, “Measure of a Man,” sold 2.7 million.

Mr. Aiken joins a slew of second-place “Idol” finishers — Katharine McPhee, Diana DeGarmo, Justin Guarini, Blake Lewis and Bo Bice, among them — who were let go from their major-label deals after their days on Fox’s hit talent-search series.

There may be better days ahead for Mr. Aiken, however. He’ll make a guest appearance on the CW’s April 8 episode of “America’s Next Top Model,” where he will serve as a guest judge.

Devine dramedy

Loretta Devine has reunited with David E. Kelley on “Legally Mad,” his new dramedy at NBC, the Hollywood Reporter says.

The pilot centers on Brady Hamm (Charity Wakefield), a twentysomething woman who takes a job at a law firm run by her father (Hugh Bonneville).

Miss Devine, an original member of Broadway’s “Dreamgirls” cast, will play Jeanette, an attorney at the firm constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

The actress, who most recently appeared on ABC’s “Eli Stone,” co-starred on Mr. Kelley’s Fox drama “Boston Public” and had guest appearances on his “Ally McBeal” and “Boston Legal.”

‘CSI’ menace caught

Police officers in Tijuana, Mexico, have detained an Austrian woman accused of stalking David Caruso, TVGuide.com reports.

The 42-year-old suspect previously was charged with stalking and threatening to kill the “CSI: Miami” star but failed to show up for her July 2007 trial. Since then, she is believed to have been on the run, with laptop in tow.

Austrian prosecutors told AP the woman sent Mr. Caruso more than 100 letters and pursued him for an autograph. When the actor refused to oblige her request, she targeted him with death threats, Austrian officials say.

Tijuana police apprehended the woman this week with the help of the Stalker Chronicles, a blog dedicated to her arrest. The woman, turned over to immigration officials late Thursday, likely will be deported, TV Guide says.

Final ‘E.R.’ a cash cow

NBCs “ER” is tripling its price for 30-second advertising spots for the April finale of the 15-year-old medical drama, which will feature returning stars George Clooney, Anthony Edwards and Noah Wylie, TVWeek.com says, citing a story from Broadcasting & Cable.

The show, which has been selling ads for $135,000, is asking between $425,000 and $500,000 per 30-second spot, B&C says.

On tap tonight

Bob Dylan: Live In Newport 1963-1965 (WMPT-Channel 22) — The singer-songwriter performs “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “It Ain’t Me, Babe,” “Like a Rolling Stone” and more.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports

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