AmEx, ‘Project Runway’ Forge Integrated Pact

NEW YORK American Express is joining the fifth season of Bravo’s Project Runway with a major sponsorship that includes an integrated presence for AmEx within the cable show and online.

The company will present a weekly broadband program, Watch What Happens: After the Sew Live, hosted by Bravo’s Andy Cohen, available only to card members. The live “after show” series will run on a custom Bravo microsite. On-air spots will drive viewers online each week for exclusive commentary from Cohen, contestants, designers and special guests.

AmEx will also sponsor the Project Runway blogs, accessible to anyone with Internet access.

“Our passionate viewers want to connect with our shows on all platforms: online, on the phone or interactively with the show,” said Susan Malfa, svp, ad sales, Bravo, in a statement. “Our viewers create the buzz; they are influencers and advertisers get the benefit of that word-of-mouth power.”

Several other sponsors are returning to the program when the new season starts on July 16, including Bluefly.com, L’Oreal, Saturn and TRESemme. In addition, fashion magazine Elle is continuing its participation in the program with editor-at-large Nina Garcia as one of the judges. The magazine also funds a prize for the winning contestant and does a feature story on the winner as well.

The show’s co-producers, the Weinstein Co. and Miramax Films, inked a deal to move the series to Lifetime for season six, although NBC Universal, owner of Bravo, has filed a breach of contract suit in New York to force the show to stay put.