Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn just won the Emmy for outstanding reality host, but they may have some competition from the franchise's new leading lady, Alyssa Milano. After all, executive producer Harvey Weinstein did handpick her to be Project Runway All Stars' latest host.
"Harvey Weinstein saw my episode of E!'s Fashion Police, which was the first thing I ever hosted in my life, and he just thought that I'd make a good host," Milano told reporters at the Season 3 premiere screening, held Oct. 22 in New York. One meeting later, she landed the gig. "Stepping into a show that is already successful seemed like the right time to explore hosting a reality show."
What qualifies the Mistresses actress, who rose to fame in the '80s on Who's The Boss, as a fashion expert? "She brings an outside perspective of someone who doesn't work or live in fashion but adores and appreciates it," says judge Isaac Mizrahi, who returns alongside Marchesa co-founder Georgina Chapman. "Alyssa is a real woman — not a designer, not a model — just a really smart actress who loves hair, make up, clothes, shoes and wears clothes all the time."
TV fashion correspondent Zanna Roberts Rassi also joins the series as a mentor to the 11 seasoned designers in the workroom. "I'd be there as a sounding board and never to discourage too much," Rassi told TV Guide Magazine. "But the further we got into the competition, I realized, there's a half a million dollars at stake and this is no place to just be nice so I toughened up a little bit."
And there will be plenty to critique. This round welcomes past winners including Jeffrey Sebelia (Season 3), Irina Shabayeva (Season 6) and Seth Aaron Henderson (Season 7).
"The competition is so much harder in All Stars, so it's irrelevant if they've won before," says Milano. But still, she admits, "there were moments where I had to remind myself, I have to judge them based on what they're doing now and not how much I loved them in their prior seasons."
Andy South (Season 8), now a transgender woman named Ari South, also joins the cutthroat slew of contestants. There will also be familiar faces on the judges' panel, as Project Runway's Nina Garcia and Zac Posen will appear as guests.
Gayle King, Nick Cannon, Gabourey Sidibe and Elisabeth Moss are also lined up as guest judges, but one of TV's most famous ladies steals the show in a midseason challenge — Marge Simpson. Reveals Rassi: "Marge has a new dress now, thank you designers on All Stars!"
Project Runway All Stars Season 3 premieres Thurs. at 9/8c on Lifetime with rocker Debbie Harry as guest judge for a punk-inspired challenge.