October 20, 2006 12:04 AM by Joe Blackmon
And the winner is Jeffrey Sebelia — and Bravo. A whopping 5.4 million total viewers watched Jeffrey Sebelia rock the runway to win the third season finale of "Project Runway" on Wednesday, October 18 at 10:00 PM, making the show the #1 telecast on cable for the night and drawing the biggest tally in Bravo history. Additionally, the second season premiere of "Top Chef" at 11:00 PM more than whetted audience appetites with an incredible 1.9 million total viewers tuning in to meet the season’s 15 new talented chefs hungry to make their mark on the culinary world, building 46 % from the show’s season one premiere in March.
"To say we are pleased by last night’s numbers would be an understatement," said Lauren Zalaznick, President, Bravo. "This is the payoff for our unrelenting passion to deliver dramatic appointment television, and we’re thrilled that our viewers share our excitement. ‘Project Runway’ catapulted into the pop culture stratosphere this fall as we headed into the finale, while ‘Top Chef’ season two’s debut really exceeded even our highest expectation."
The one-hour season finale of "Project Runway" averaged a 4.6 HH coverage rating, 5.4 million total viewers, and 3.44 million Adults 18-49, beating out all other programs on all of cable Wednesday night. "Top Chef," which premiered after the finale of "Project Runway" and moves into its regular 10 PM timeslot next Wednesday, garnered a 1.7 HH coverage rating, 1.9 million total viewers, 1.34 million Adults 18-49, setting new records for the time period in all key demos and building an impressive 46% from it’s season one debut on March 8, 2006.
The "Project Runway" season three finale also goes down in the Bravo history books as the network’s highest-rated telecast ever. Last night’s performance overall contributed to Bravo’s highest Wednesday prime delivery ever in HH coverage ratings (2.2), total viewers (2.5 million), Adults 18-49 (1.6 million) and Adults 25-54 (1.5 million).
In addition, "Project Runway" beat all broadcast and cable programs in major markets including Seattle and San Francisco, reaching an 11.2 HH rating in cable homes in the Seattle market.
The show has also broken Bravo records across the digital platforms — web and mobile. "Project Runway" on BravoTV.com hit a new show high with the heaviest traffic in network history. Compared to season two, visitors to the site nearly tripled, and skyrocketed to over 5.1 million visitors, 267% above last season. Additionally, pageviews were up 36% with 73 million and streaming video was up 38% with 5.1 million users viewing footage.
Last night’s "Top Chef" season two premiere attracted more Adults 18-49 (1.34 million) than any cable food telecast in 2006.
The third season of "Project Runway" proved to be a hit right out of the gate, attracting 2.41 million total viewers for the premiere episode on 7/12/06 , becoming the most watched series premiere ever in Bravo’s history. The series consistently broke Bravo ratings records throughout its run, averaging a 3.11 HH coverage rating, 3.41 million total viewers (up +103 percent from season two), 2.24 million Adults 18-49 (up +82 percent from season two). Versus the season two finale on March 8, 2006, the third season finale surged by +39 % in Adults 18-49, by +57 percent in total viewers.
Bravo’s programming has become a hit with men along with women. Last night, both "Project Runway" and "Top Chef" attracted more Men 18-49 and Men 25-54 than any ESPN program.
"Project Runway" is executive produced by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz of Magical Elves ("Project Greenlight," "Last Comic Standing," "Top Chef"). Heidi Klum and her managers Desiree Gruber and Jane Cha of NYC-based Full Picture also executive produce the series. Barbara Schneeweiss oversaw the production on behalf of Miramax Television and The Weinstein Company.
"Top Chef" is produced by Magical Elves. Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz serve as executive producers. Shauna Minoprio also serves as executive producer.