In a bid to court viewers and make a splash, "Project Runway" host Heidi Klum is baring all.
The former supermodel's revealing image is the centerpiece of Lifetime's promotional campaign for the fashion competition series' ninth season, set to launch July 28. (The Hollywood Reporter was first to report that a nude image was forthcoming earlier this month.)
"This is definitely sexier than past campaigns we've done for 'Project Runway,' " says Klum. "I guess you could say 'Hans and Franz' are celebrating season nine!"
And that, according to Lifetime general manager Nancy Dubuc, is precisely the point. Since taking the helm at the once top-rated network a year ago, Dubuc has strategically pushed both her programming and marketing teams to actively move away from the "women in peril" stereotype that has plagued Lifetime in recent years. Instead, she has tasked her employees to seek out and celebrate female characters who are at once brazen, strong, confident and sexy.
But the femme-skewing network's effort to cut through the clutter won't stop there. In addition to previously announced celebrity guest judge Kim Kardashian, "Runway" is adding Malin Ackerman, Christina Ricci and Zoe Saldana to this season's roster of fashion icons as judges.
The Emmy-winning series, which was hijacked from Bravo years earlier, will also feature more designers than ever before. On the show's premiere episode, they will be forced to go before Klum, mentor Tim Gunn and judges Nina Garcia and Michael Kors to make a case for why they deserve one of the 16 coveted spots.
This season's winning designer will receive $100,000 from L'Oreal Paris to start a line, a Marie Claire fashion spread, a $50,000 tech suite from Intel and HP to create a business and the opportunity to sell an exclusive collection through Piperlime.com.
Copyright 2012 The Hollywood Reporter