Fast Company has a profile of Lifetime CEO, Andrea Wong. You might remember her as the visionary that brought UK sensation, Strictly Come Dancing, to the U.S. and ABC in the form of Dancing With The Stars. She's smart, connects with consumers and has a great eye and intuitive sense for what attract viewers.
A couple of interesting facts in this article tell me a lot about why Project Runway feels different on Lifetime than it did on Bravo despite no major obvious changes in the format of the show. It's all about the production. It's why a wearable-by-real-women design by Shirin won and good television, obviously-should-go-home-but-totally-would-have-stayed-on-Bravo characters like too-conceptual-for-America Malvin and I-want-a-partner-who-can-carry-me Mitchell were Auf'ed.
First fact is that (I had forgotten) original producers Magical Elves have been replaced by Real World creators and spawners of much of contemporary reality television Bunim-Murray. Project Runway has always reeked of the heavy hand of producers in its decision making (along with the judges "would I wear it?" tastes). But new producers appears to equal outcomes that will better appeal to the demographics of the Lifetime audience than the Bravo audience, i.e. wearable vs. drama.
Second fact has to do with those audience demographics. I would have guessed they would be substantially different but wow, I wouldn't have guessed the differences would be this vast:
It won't be easy for Lifetime to make the Runway halo effect work. ["O]nly 4% of Lifetime viewers are cognizant of Runway," says Lifetime marketing head Bob Bibb.
I guess the subtle changes are evidence of Project Runway and Lifetime making it work. Carry on.