February 22, 2005 -- 'PROJECT Runway" may get snipped from Bravo's lineup, despite becoming a hit this season.
The second season of the popular cable show — which follows a group of designers competing for a big-bucks contract to produce a line of apparel — is in jeopardy because of the expected split between Miramax, the studio that produces it, and Disney.
While it is clear that Bravo wants to renew the show, there is currently no deal in place because TV executives are not sure who will have the rights to "Project" next year: Disney or Miramax.
"It is our heartfelt intent to be able to go to season two," Bravo president Lauren Zalaznick told the industry trade magazine Mediaweek. "But nothing is a given."
Producers "still need to figure out how they can cast another season of the show and come up with a different set of challenges," she said.
The real challenge may ultimately be sorting out who actually owns the show.
Miramax chiefs Bob and Harvey Weinstein have employment deals with Disney through September 2005, according to published reports.
At the moment, when those agreements end, Disney is believed to have the option of keeping the rights to some or all of Miramax's properties, including "Project Runway," unless the studio chiefs are able to renegotiate.
Whether the Weinsteins or Disney walk away with the rights to the show remains to be seen.
A network source told The Post yesterday, "We are looking at it from every angle," and that the likelihood of a Disney/Miramax split "has nothing to do with the situation [of renewing the show]."
Calls to Miramax were not returned yesterday.
Tomorrow's two-hour "Runway" finale will feature a showdown between the show's three finalists: kooky comedian Jay McCarroll, 29, Air Force brat Kara Saun, 37, and ruthless, conniving designer Wendy Pepper, 39.
The winner, announced during the finale, will get a photo spread in Elle and $100,000 to launch a clothing line.