America's Next Top Model vs. Project Runway
America's Next Top Model is a show that pits aspiring models against each other, all vying for a big modeling contract. Project Runway pits fashion designers against each other, all vying for a large contract and exposure for their designs. America's Next Top Model is hosted by former supermodel Tyra Banks. Project Runway is hosted by former supermodel Heidi Klum. Similarities abound between these two programs, for obvious reasons. They are the two most popular shows about the world of fashion on TV.
The main difference between the shows, however, is how they are received by viewers. America's Next Top Model, although it receives good ratings, is mostly looked down upon as a typical, low culture reality show. Project Runway, on the other hand, is highly regarded in most circles, is a multiple Emmy Nominee and is viewed as a high culture, valued show that anyone can enjoy without feeling guilty. Perhaps the reasons for this are genuine; maybe Project Runway is that much better of a show than America's Next Top Model. But I think this view is based wholly on faulty preconceptions. I believe, however, that America's Next Top Model suffers from both the preconceived notions regarding its channel and its competitors. In turn, Project Runway benefits from the stigma of its channel and its competitors. Face it, we are a culture who believe in the stereotype that models are dumb. Designers, on the other hand, are perceived as creative and precious, because they invent things, they are creators. What does this have to do with the two reality shows? America's Next Top Model is shrugged off completely by a multitude of viewers who view the models as dumb and therefore unworthy of competing in a supposed talent-based competition. We want our dumb reality show participants making asses out of themselves, not succeeding. Therefore, people won't give America's Next Top Model a chance. The funny thing is, I often find the models just as interesting and intelligent (in a general sense) as the designers on Project Runway. They are not always just big idiots who happen to look good and be skinny. Project Runway airs on the Bravo Network, which is known for cutting-edge quality programming. It's a stylish network that generally houses very little trash entertainment. However, I find most of the designers on Project Runway daft and hopelessly transparent. So, does Project Runway get acclaim because of the network they are on? I don't know. But I do know that if you switched Project Runway to The CW and America's Next Top Model to Bravo, the way viewers first judged the two shows would be totally different. The way things appear at first glance have very little to do with their actual value is. Nor does their premise. It's all about execution. That's why it's unfortunate that so many people look down upon America's Next Top Model solely on principle. It's a great show and a fun one to watch. Maybe even better than Project Runway. Find out for yourself. -Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer