The awkward stepsister of “America’s Next Top Model,” Bravo’s “Project Runway” takes reality TV back into the fashion world. This time, the reality TV powers-that-be are searching for the next bright light in fashion design.

Twelve aspiring fashion designers go through various absurd design challenges and have a mini-fashion show each episode in front of judges, including designer Michael Kors and Nina Garcia, the fashion editor of Elle magazine. Every show ends with a runway rejection scene. The last designer standing will win the resources needed to start a clothing line, including $100,000 and a photo spread in Elle.

“Project Runway” is good, even if most of the entertainment is derived from the inane qualities of all involved. These contestants form perhaps the most eccentric group ever assembled on one reality show. The pilot’s challenge had the designers using only supermarket products to make an evening outfit. Daniel, the first designer sent home, admitted he was trying to channel the simplicity of Picasso through his garbage-bag and butcher-paper ensemble. Austin, the most outlandish dresser, looks like Andy Dick’s long lost cousin and makes a whole dress using just duct tape and corn husks.

Model Heidi Klum is unintentionally hilarious as the host of the series. As if struggling to keep a straight face wasn’t enough, she always has a look of extreme concentration and seems to be fishing for her own catchphrase. Nominees include: “Fashion can be a real bitch sometimes” and “Auf Wiedersehen.” The latter, said during the first elimination, provided the most unexpectedly funny moment of the pilot.

It doesn’t take much to make a decent reality show. As long as there’s a good premise, interesting host and out-there contestants, almost any reality show can be entertaining.“Project Runway” easily makes the cut.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

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