'I Want My 'Project Runway'!'

As always, "Project Runway" shot its season finale on the final day of New York Fashion Week. All that was missing were the finalists.

The three unknown designers were forced to remain hidden backstage after sending their collections down the runway.

That's because a long, drawn-out legal fight has delayed the sixth season of the popular reality show. The new season has yet to air and it's not certain when -- or whether -- it ever will. But that didn't stop producers from shooting the entire season, including the finale.

"During the shooting, [the litigation] didn't impact anyone," Tim Gunn, the show's on-air mentor to the design competitors, told ABCNews.com. "What was unprecedented was when we reunited at New York Fashion Week and no one knew who these designers were. That's usually where they're greeted with the fans' support. But for everyone sitting and watching, it was an opportunity to really objectively evaluate the collections, and they were fantastic."

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"Runway" host Heidi Klum told the Fashion Week audience the morning of Feb. 20 that she was "a little bit sad" the finalists couldn't have their moment in the spotlight.

"This year is gonna be a little bit different for us, for all of you, for our designers backstage," she said. "We're all in a bit of a limbo, and we hope that everything gets sorted out very soon."

The new season, under a new network and new producers, moved to Los Angeles from New York, its home for five seasons.

"Season 6 is really great," Gunn said. "It's stronger than Season 5. Our backdrop was L.A., which ended up being fabulous, and I was one of the skeptical ones who went."

"I'm crossing my fingers that this season airs," Gunn said. "We're tied up in this court case. It could be weeks or months before there's a resolution."

The legal battle -- involving NBC, which owns Bravo; the Weinstein Co.; and the Lifetime Channel -- could be the subject of a reality show about bickering television executives.

Project Runway's Network Drama

The hit reality show, created by former Miramax Films head Harvey Weinstein, has aired on Bravo since 2004. But, in April, Weinstein announced that he had sold the show to Lifetime, a rival network that has been trying to make over its image as a station best known -- as one "Project Runway" fan derisively wrote -- for airing "Golden Girls" reruns. Lifetime agreed to pay a reported $150 million for a five-year deal for "Runway" and spin-off shows.

The same day the deal was announced, NBC sued Weinstein.

In court filings, NBC says it had the right to match any offers from other networks for subsequent seasons of the show, known as a right of first refusal. The network also claims Weinstein engaged in "sham negotiations," locking up the deal with Lifetime in February 2008 and hiding it for months while pretending to negotiate a new deal with NBC.

The Weinstein Co. denied the allegations and countersued Bravo, accusing it of "purposefully revealing spoilers" of "Runway" and stealing the show's format for other reality shows such as "Top Chef."

Then, Lifetime sued both NBC and Weinstein. Lifetime is partly owned by the Walt Disney Co., the parent company of ABC News.

Nearly a year later, there's no sign that the lawsuits, already marred by several delays, will be resolved any time soon, people close to the negotiations say. A court hearing is scheduled for March 19.

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