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'Project Runway' To Hit The Web

Project Runway fans who miss the competition series' Thursday night premiere episodes on Lifetime will be able to watch the series on the web two days later via the network's website, the network announced today.

Episodes from the series, which debuts its sixth season tonight (Aug. 20) on Lifetime, will be streamed in its entirety via the Saturday after it premieres on the network, according to Dan Suratt, Lifetime's executive vice president of digital media and business development.

Episodes from the show's companion series Models Of The Runway, which airs immediately after Project Runway, will also be streamed on the web. PaidContent reported the story first.

It marks the first time episodes from the Weinstein Co.-produced series will be available via the web: Bravo, which aired the  first five seasons of the show, did not have the rights to stream full episodes of the popular fashion competition series, according to a Bravo spokesperson.

"We really use our website to keep our audience updated and making sure that they don't miss an episode," Surratt said, adding that each episode will have two encore airings on Lifetime before hitting the web for a 30-day run.

"They use it as a tool to make sure they're not an episode behind."

The network currently streams episodes of its popular series Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva - the latter was renewed by Lifetime for a second season earlier this week. While streaming episodes on the web has not hurt ratings for those shows, Suratt said the network will watch the on-air and online viewership performance of Project Runway closely.

"If we saw that this was affecting in any way our performance on air we would definitely reconsider our philosophy," he added.

In addition to the streaming Project Runway episodes, the network will air an additional 500 exclusive behind the scenes video clips from the series.

Lifetime has not announced its stand in the industry wide debate on authenticating television content for cable subscribers' viewing anywhere on demand, and Suratt declined to comment on the matter.

Lifetime has also created a "Project Runway Buzz Room" application that will aggregate Project Runway Twitter messages and Facebook public posts. Site visitors can access the Project Runway Buzz Room with their Facebook Connect or Twitter log-ins and have the option of simultaneously surfacing their posts in the room on their Twitter or Facebook pages.

The application will also feature posts from show designers and models, designers from previous seasons, and key show sites and bloggers, said the network.