UPFRONT & CENTER: Bravo to Debut Its Final Season of Project Runway

Bravo will premiere its fifth and most likely last season of Project Runway in July, giving the show a brief break before it debuts on its new home, Lifetime Television.

The network announced Tuesday at its New York upfront presentation that season five of the show would premiere this summer. That means there will be a resting period of several weeks before it is slated to premiere season six on Lifetime in November.

The women's network said last week that it acquired the show from its producer, The Weinstein Co., and it would premiere a sixth season this fall.

Bravo, which was casting season five at the time, was left in the position of retaining the rights to season five but having to show that season in a way that would lead in to the new season on Lifetime. Bravo’s parent company, NBC Universal, filed a lawsuit seeking to reassert that it retains the right of first refusal for new seasons of the show.

Along with announcing Runway's premiere date, Bravo executives drew attention to the network's other shows, stressing that its ratings growth came not from a single hit, but from its entire slate. They said the network will add Monday as a fourth night of originals beginning this summer -- an effort to populate more nights of the schedule with its own shows, rather than acquired fare.

"Bravo's continued historic growth is not just about any one show, it's a consumer-immersed environment," Bravo/Oxygen president Lauren Zalaznick said in a statement. "Bravo Media has evolved into a global multimedia company in which we engage with our viewers at every consumer touch point in an effort to be more Bravo, more often, in more places."

The network confirmed 12 returning series and four new series and specials, as well as several in development.

Returning shows, some previously announced, include new seasons of Top Chef, The Millionaire Matchmaker, Flipping Out, Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List, Shear Genius, The Real Housewives of New York City and The Real Housewives of Orange County. Tim Gunn's Guide to Style will also be back for a second season, the network said, although the style guru will move to Lifetime along with Runway's sixth season, that network said.

Bravo's three new series, all previously announced as being in development, are The Rachel Zoe Project, a docudrama about the celebrity stylist; Date My Ex, a dating series featuring Real Housewives of Orange County's Jo De La Rosa; and Real Housewives of New Jersey, another series in the Housewives franchise.

The network is also developing shows with New York-based restaurateur Donatella Arapia and Tabatha Coffey, a contestant from season one of Shear Genius, as well as Miami Social, which follows a group of friends in South Beach.

Continuing to try to establish Bravo as a brand that extends beyond the medium of linear television, executives drew attention to growth in online traffic, citing average monthly page views of 128.7 million during the first quarter of 2008.

To broaden that online reach, the network Tuesday debuted Movies Without Pity, a movie-review site spun off from Television Without Pity, which the network acquired in May 2007. The new site will include reviews based upon movie trailers or posters, rather than the films themselves, Bravo said.

For complete coverage of the upfronts, click here.