Project Runway South Africa is the second of two new localised titles of well-known American reality shows that South African and African viewers haven't yet seen before.
M-Net's local entertainment channels division announced that month that it will be doing a South African version of The Real Housewives of ... for the rebranded 1Magic (DStv 103).
The Project Runway format is held by the now notorious The Weinstein Company (TWC) and local licensing versions are shopped by FremantleMedia International's (FMI) FremantleMedia Licensing Worldwide (FLW) division.
FMI already sold several seasons of the American version of Project Runway to M-Net with seasons broadcast on the M-Net, M-Net Series, VUZU Amp and Vuzu channels along with spin-offs like Project Runway Junior and Project Runway All Stars.
“Project Runway has done well internationally. We are excited to have the local version on Mzansi Magic," says Reneilwe Sema, the director of local entertainment channels at M-Net.
"As a channel we have successfully introduced scripted content and reality formats into the market. Project Runway SA will add value and variety to our content proposition".
Project Runway SA will be produced by Ndalo Pictures, the new TV and multimedia division of Ndalo Media that secured the licensing rights from FMI for a local version, and production partner Rapid Blue that is currently producing Dancing with the Stars SA for M-Net and did a new season of Come Dine with Me South Africa for BBC Worldwide South Africa.
“South Africa has impressive design talent that is absolutely ready for an international show like this,” says Khanyi Dhlomo, owner of Ndalo Media where magazines like ELLE and Destiny are going to be used to leverage interest in the local version of the TV show.
"It’s engaging, informative, enlightening and entertaining. It’s about talent, about mentorship, opportunity, and pushing creativity past all boundaries. We’re incredibly proud to be able to bring this show to our shores.”
In Project Runway South Africa, the finalists will have to prepare for the 2019 Paris Fashion Week in February 2019 with Edgars as the clothing sponsor and TRESemmé for hair.
Project Runway South Africa will face somewhat of an uphill climb. Designing reality TV shows in South Africa cater to a small niche audience and several other attempts have suffered from a combination of lackluster viewership and low ratings as well as scandals.
From 2006's The Cut South Africa to Raw Silk on SABC1 and most recently the scandal-riddled The Intern with David Tlale on SABC3, the local shows that suffer from rushed and bad production values have struggled to capture public viewers' attention and catch on in the way overseas ones do.
Last week David Tlale and the SABC shocked when the prizes of Kuena Moshoeshoe who was announced as the winner of The Intern in October 2017, were given to runner-up Keletso Moraba who was suddenly "crowned" the new winner following ongoing acrimonious in-fighting behind the scenes.
Entries for Project Runway South Africa will open on Monday 26 February.