Project Runway,” in your early days, you were TV’s best reality show: Kooky and/or talented designers made gowns out of corn husks in two days. Over the years, you’ve had downs and ups. How did snippy, Southwestern-styled Gretchen beat geometric pattern master Mondo in season 8?

Now comes season 9 (Thursdays, 9 p.m., Lifetime). The premiere had too much confessional blather from designers, not enough creative process. Yet “PR” is still on my “in” list. Here’s why:

1. Great casting. A former alcoholic who says he’s 102! A former Miss Universe contestant who just learned to sew! A former banker who is a Mormon and a crybaby! A man who thinks he and judge Nina Garcia’s eyes are “clearly talking sex.” (P.S. They are not.)

2. Great first challenge. Awakened at 5 a.m., the designers had to forge a garment from their pj’s and a sheet.

3. Host/exec producer Heidi Klum. In episode 1, she got tipsy and admitted to being “a little bit mean”!

4. Mentor Tim Gunn (above left). Who else could utter the phrase “pubic patch” (to describe an unfortunately placed batch of feathers on a miniskirt) and still sound dignified?

Written by Express contributor Marc Silver
Image courtesy Lifetime