Tim Gunn


SMALL SCREEN GETS SMALLER: Lisa Donovan, an aspiring actress and comic better known as Lisa Nova on YouTube.com, has been added to the cast of MadTV starting later this month, according to a story on the Zap2It website. Donovan, who’s apparently the 38th most viewed poster on YouTube, auditioned for MadTV after she moved to Los Angeles but was rejected. She started making short films and began posting them on YouTube, which drew the attention of a casting director on the Fox TV show, who gave her another shot.

Like other YouTube sensations, I’m afraid I don’t see much of what drew viewers to her work, but it probably didn’t hurt that she’s an attractive blonde willing to look alternately crazed or confused. The hook in the Zap2It story was actually at the end – a related factoid quoting a recent Harris Interactive study that reported that 42 per cent of adults online have seen a YouTube video, and that 32 per cent of frequent YouTube viewers said they watch less TV, though how the two statistics are linked remains unexplained.

It’s obvious now that the major networks have to start hiring YouTube stars like jamaicanmama, for instance, for the next season of Dancing With The Stars – you can argue that filming yourself shaking your rump in your bedroom might not qualify you to dance the tango or ballroom on national television every week, but then you have to ask what was Tucker Carlson doing there last season.

MAKE HIM WORK: Fashion mentor Tim Gunn, the much-loved Project Runway regular, announced to students yesterday that he’s leaving the Parsons School of Design in New York after 23 years for a job as Chief Creative Officer for fashion firm Liz Claiborne. The letter was classic Gunn all the way – a gracious, almost gushing plea that his students not panic, that their courses will continue without disruption, and that he will “be actively and enthusiastically recruiting Parsons graduates” to work at Claiborne after he starts there in March.

What this really means is that Gunn will be free to appear in the next season of Project Runway, where his participation during Parson’s school year was in doubt until now. In fact, that seems to have been part of the deal with Claiborne, judging by comments made by William L. McComb, CEO of Claiborne, in a press release where he states that “Tim knows we fully support his Bravo projects, including his own upcoming series Tim Gunn's Guide to Style. In fact, it is his involvement in these initiatives and the design world at large that will help keep Tim vital in this new role.”

If, for a moment, you find yourself wondering if this is a kind of conflict of interest on Gunn’s part, please rewind a few of the shows back in your head, with their front-and-centre corporate partnerships, and remind yourself that this is fashion, where integrity means telling models not to throw up just before a runway shot starts – unless you want that whole pale and unsteady thing, in which case heave away, darling.


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