Why Project Runway's Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn 'Jumped Ship' To Amazon's Making The Cut

Project Runway Heidi Klum Tim Gunn Lifetime

The Project Runway motto "one day you're in and the next day you're out" matched a little too perfectly to host Heidi Klum and mentor Tim Gunn. Project Runway is now airing Season 18 on Bravo, but fans still miss Heidi and Tim. The pair left after Season 16, before the Lifetime show made its move back to Bravo with a new host and mentor. Why did they leave Project Runway? To start their own show, Making the Cut, on Amazon. That show is finally ready to premiere March 27 on Amazon.

To promote Making the Cut during the TCAs, Heidi Klum explained why she decided it was time to jump ship from Project Runway, and convinced Tim Gunn and producer Sara Rea to jump with her.

To be honest, for many, many years, because Sara and Tim and I, we’ve been working for many, many years together, and our hands were tied for many, many years, because our imagination is bigger than what we were allowed to do or couldn’t do [on Project Runway]. Because, you know, there is a certain look to a show that you also sometimes maybe don’t wanna change and they didn’t wanna change. And then when everything kind of fell apart and the show was going to a different owner again... It was kind of like for me I was like, 'Okay, either we’re gonna just go back there and it’s gonna be same old, same old, or now is this opportunity to jump ship.' And I called Tim and I said, 'I’m jumping this ship, and do you wanna jump with me? I don’t know where it’s gonna go, but I’m really eager to see what we can do.'

And so they jumped together, and called Sara Rea, who is now the executive producer of Making the Cut.

Making the Cut has several differences from Project Runway. For one thing, it's global and instantly shoppable, with the winning look from each episode available on Amazon Fashion in the Making the Cut store. The winning designer from the finale will earn a $1 million prize to invest in their brand, and an opportunity to create an exclusive line on Amazon Fashion.

That Amazon can afford something like a $1 million prize -- and send designers around the world -- was part of the appeal over Project Runway. As Heidi Klum added:

And you know, shopped it around and thought that Amazon was the best place for…not only for the show but really also for the designers. Because you can design as much as you want. It becomes real when you see people wearing your clothes. That’s the most exciting thing, having made my own clothes and sold them. It’s the most amazing thing, I mean, you know, when someone walks around in your clothes, so all of a sudden it becomes real. ... [Project Runway was] a show that never had the biggest budget. When you have a bigger budget — thank you Amazon — you get to go to Paris, and you get to go to Tokyo. And you get to, you know, show these designers different things, where that injects so much creativity into them and you see it in the clothes.

In terms of how her hands felt tied at Project Runway, Heidi Klum mentioned the show set up a formula in Season 1 that they felt compelled to continue in Season 2 and beyond.

And then you perpetuate it further into Season 3, and then eventually into Seasons 10 through 16. And we couldn’t break out of it because there was a fear — not among us, we’re the ones who were thinking creatively and innovatively about what we wanted to do — but from the viewpoint of where the show sat, there was a fear about leaving that formula. Well now, I hope you find when you watch Making the Cut, that there are constant surprises.

Each winning look on Making the Cut will cost around $100 or less, and the inclusive sizes are said to go from triple-X small to triple-X large, and some actually extra-large.

The 10-episode fashion competition series will visit New York, Park, and Tokyo, with designers facing challenges that test their abilities to run an entire business. Unlike Project Runway, Making the Cut will show designers working with seamstresses -- so they won't have to sewn their own garments.

That was something Tim and Heidi had to get used to, since construction is always key for designers on Project Runway. As Tim Gunn put it during the TCA winter press tour:

I know Heidi and I, in particular, we were a little disarmed by the whole thought because it’s not what we’re used to, though it’s absolutely the real world. And in looking for the next global brand, there’re so many components of this that go beyond design. As you’re saying, Sara, staff management, marketing, visual merchandising, sourcing, and we have a lot of these tests that we present to our Making the Cut designers to help evaluate who’s going to win.

Heidi Klum said she's living proof that designers don't need to sew themselves:

I can’t sew at all. I’ve done many collections for many different companies. I’ve done children’s clothing, I’ve done Birkenstock shoes, you know, New Balance activewear shoes. You know, I’ve designed many things, and I can’t sew. I think it’s a matter of taste, and vision, a goal, and putting the right team together. And I think, you know, that’s what this is about. We didn’t want it to be a sewing competition. We wanted someone who has a vision and why exclude them? You know, I remember when Michael Kors was sitting there and he was always like, 'Yeah. I mean, I don’t remember the last time when I sewed anything.' You know, it’s like, he’s not sewing things, you know a long time ago when he did.

Joseph Altuzarra is one of the judges and he said it was very exciting to him that Making the Cut wasn't going to be a sewing competition, it was about finding the next global brand.

And I think as a designer, I mean I know how to sew, but I don’t sew my clothes. I have to know how to put a tech pack together and how to communicate with my factory and communicate with my teams, and that’s what you are looking for.

Other judges on Making the Cut include Naomi Campbell, Nicole Richie, Carine Roitfeld, and Chiara Ferragni. Making the Cut premieres March 27, 2020, with two episodes airing weekly over the course of five weeks only on Amazon Prime Video. Keep up with everything premiering in early 2020 with our handy TV schedule.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.