Tim Gunn says that “Making the Cut,” the new Amazon series he’s hosting with Heidi Klum, is the result of their unhappiness over the direction of their previous project, “Project Runway.”
“Heidi and I have wanted to make changes to ‘Project Runway’ for quite a while,” Gunn, 66, tells The Post. “We were joined in that desire by the ‘Project Runway’ showrunner for the last eleven seasons, an incredible woman by the name of Sara Rea. And the network wouldn’t budge — they said ‘This is a success, people like the format, we’re not going to change anything.’ ”
Gunn and Klum both appeared on the fashion design reality show from 2004-2017 (Klum as its host; Gunn as the mentor to designers). They were not part of the revamped version that returned to Bravo in 2017 with hosts Karlie Kloss and Christian Siriano.
“When ‘Project Runway’ left Lifetime and went back to Bravo, Heidi and I huddled and said, ‘This is the opportunity. This is the time that we can do what we really want to do,” says Gunn.
On “Making the Cut,” (premiering Friday), Gunn and Klum host a fashion design competition where 12 designers from around the world compete for a $1 million prize and the chance to have their collection featured for a wide audience on Amazon. Over the course of 10 episodes, the designers show off their work in front of a panel of judges including Naomi Campbell, Nicole Richie, Carine Roitfeld and Joseph Altuzarra.
Unlike “Project Runway,” “Making the Cut” pivots away from emphasizing sewing skills to accentuating the importance of branding and global reach (it jumps between New York, Paris, and Tokyo).
“We wanted to take it to a higher level — we wanted it to be global, we wanted it to no longer be a sewing competition but about what it really takes to be a success in this industry,” says Gunn. “You’ve got to be a brand.”
In between the segments of the designers and fashion shows, “Making the Cut” features vignettes of Gunn and Klum undertaking various activities around Paris, including fencing.
“They were a blast,” Gunn says. “Heidi and I aren’t going to sit in a hotel room. We thought, ‘Let’s go out and about in Paris, and if the cameras want to follow us, let them follow us.’ It doesn’t advance the plot, but it’s fun.”
Because it was filmed over last summer and fall, “Making the Cut” was not impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, which has shut down most of the TV industry.
“We were in Paris and Tokyo in June and July, and then we returned to New York for the finale and that was in September,” Gunn says. “So it was well before this pandemic. And we hope that people who watch the show will follow our path once it’s safe to travel again.”
And even though Gunn and Klum had not worked together on camera since leaving “Project Runway” in 2017, he doesn’t see this show as a reunion.
“On ‘Project Runway’ we had such completely separate roles that we barely interacted,” he says. “On ‘Making the Cut,’ we’re together all the time. So that interaction is also a huge difference in the construct of the show. We talk all the time, so I never felt that we were apart, and we knew that we had something great percolating. So we were never really apart, and we were committed to implementing this vision together. We were joined at the hip.
“I keep pinching myself — we actually made the dream come true.”