You Bet-tah Work! Jessica Simpson Preps for a Return to Reality TV

NBC taps the pop star-turned-mogul to serve as a celebrity mentor in its new series, Fashion Star. But is it just a Project Runway knock-off?

By , Contributor

NBC has announced that Jessica Simpson will be stepping in as a celebrity mentor for its newest reality series, Fashion Star.

The show, which will be hosted by super model Elle Macpherson, seeks to find America's next big fashion brand out of a field of 14 aspiring designers.

Though the platform may sound familiar, Fashion Star is not to be mistaken for a cheap knock-off of the original design competition, Project Runway. The series promises mass appeal, targeting a broad audience that's less concerned with making a statement on the red carpet and more into making ends meet, but looking good doing it.

Okay, so maybe at the surface it seems a little like the fake Louis Vuitton you've been trying to pass off as real for the past year (yeah, we noticed), but NBC makes no attempt to deceive audiences with this one. This is not the poor man's Project Runway!

In a unique twist, viewers will be able to purchase the winning designs in categories from lingerie, to dresses, and accessories throughout the season. According to the network, the day after a new episode airs and a winning design is chosen, the product will be available at select retailers.

Another difference between Fashion Star and Runway? Each episode will kick off with a huge fashion show featuring musical performances, dancers, and models, all in front of a live studio audience.

Of the up-and-coming designers competing in the series, one will win a multi-million dollar contract to launch their fashion line, which will be sold in three of the country's largest retailers. These stores, which have yet to be announced, will also play a large role in the competition. With each challenge, buyers from the individual retailers who double as judges will bid against one another to purchase the designs showcased that week. And we can only guess how many of the retailers' commericals we'll be bombarded with during the show.

Although it's often hit or miss when it comes to new reality series, NBC is hoping to mimic the success of The Voice with Fashion Star when it premieres this fall, and they've put together just the team to make it happen.

In addition to Simpson and Macpherson, both powerful entities in the industry, Fashion Star also has some heavyhitters working behind the scenes of the new series - the Emmy Award-winning production team that brought us Top Chef, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and yes, Project Runway.

Will they be able to deliver another winner with Fashion Star?

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Shayla C. Perry is a freelance journalist based in New York. In addition to interviewing some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, and covering the latest in celebrity news & gossip, her forte (read: obsession) is examining the sensationalism, gall, and sheer genius of reality TV.

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