- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Drama on ‘Runway’

For the second time this season on Bravo’s “Project Runway,” a fashion designer has been accused of cheating — just in time for tonight’s finale.

On the episode (airing at 10 p.m.), classy, pregnant mom Laura Bennett — one of four remaining finalists — says punky Jeffrey Sebelia’s collection looks a bit too put together considering the little time designers had to sew their collections before showing them at New York’s Fashion Week last month, reports the Stamford Advocate in a story appearing in Monday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Mrs. Bennett says she thinks the clothes are Mr. Sebelia’s designs but says the craftsmanship is too good to have been done by one man with just an $8,000 budget.

She also addresses the issue with the other remaining contestants — fan favorite Michael Knight and East Germany-born designer Uli Herzner. Mr. Knight agrees, but Miss Herzner mostly keeps mum. Mrs. Bennett then tells their mentor, Tim Gunn, and he says show producers will investigate.

Perhaps they did.

But will it impact “Runway’s” outcome?

Tasty treat

Moving from one Bravo reality series to another, the cable channel turns up the heat on the second season of “Top Chef,” premiering tonight at 11 following the “Project Runway” finale.

The show will feature 15 aspiring chefs competing for the coveted title along with $100,000 to jump-start or continue their culinary ventures.

Actress and model Padma Lakshmi is the show’s new host.

Perry, BMAs on TNT

Actor, playwright, movie producer and gazillionaire Tyler Perry is hosting tonight’s Black Movie Awards on cable’s TNT.

The ceremony, airing at 10 p.m., recognizes creative achievement by blacks in feature-length motion pictures, both in front of and behind the camera, and honors outstanding films portraying the black experience. This year’s top award nominees include “Akeelah and the Bee” and “ATL,” which each earned four nominations, including Outstanding Motion Picture of the Year. Also vying for the top prize are Spike Lee’s “Inside Man” and Mr. Perry’s “Madea’s Family Reunion.”

Great news for ABC

A month into the new television season, ABC is on the way to answering its two most pressing questions this fall: Would the move of “Grey’s Anatomy” to Thursdays work? And how badly would the network miss the departed “Monday Night Football”?

The answers: Yes and not very much.

ABC had four of the nation’s five most-popular programs last week, Associated Press reports, citing figures released yesterday by Nielsen Media Research. On top was “Grey’s Anatomy,” whose fans faithfully followed Dr. McDreamy to his new television home. Coupled with the unexpected success of “Ugly Betty,” which has just received a full year’s order of episodes, it has suddenly made ABC a major player on Thursday, the night advertisers pay most dearly to exhibit their wares.

On the other hand, ABC’s one disappointment so far has been the performance of “Lost,” whose average audience in its third season is 21 percent less than it was in its second, Nielsen said.

CBS — which is essentially flat compared to last year’s ratings — was still last week’s most-watched network, averaging 13.4 million viewers. ABC had 11.5 million viewers, and NBC had 10.3 million. Following were Fox with 8.2 million, the CW with 3.5 million and the I network with 620,000.

On cable, VH1 recorded the biggest audience in the history of the network on Sunday when 7.5 million people tuned in to the second-season finale of “Flavor of Love.”

For the week of Oct. 9 through 15, the top five shows on broadcast networks and their viewerships were: “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 22.8 million; “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 21.8 million; “Desperate Housewives,” ABC, 20.6 million; “Dancing With the Stars,” ABC, 20 million; and “Dancing With the Stars Results,” ABC, 18.2 million.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse and Kelly Jane Torrance from staff, Web and wire reports.

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