Sure, these shows run on advertising.
They are also cheap to produce.
I'm not talking about the commercials. I'm talking about all the product hawking in the show. It can get really tacky. Especially when they always have to use awkward titles for things like the "Macy's Accessory Wall" in Project Runway. Or that ridiculous contrivance with cotton as the official fabric of PR Season 1.
If Top Design is like Project Runway, Todd Oldham will, like Tim Gunn, become the super shill for the show. It is rather sad to watch them take the person with the most dignity and then give them the role that strips them of it.
Because there is so much advertising within the show there is a fair amount of continuity with the commercials. This is an advertiser's dream. Except that this can also backfire. By the end of Project Runway who could resist mocking the constant mention of that radical and new technique of creating the "smoky eye"? The effect of this campaign was that is made you think that super pro Collier Strong only knew how to do one boring technique that every junior high school girl already knew how to do.
The other problem with having too much continuity between commercials, product placement and host endorsement is that the show starts to seem like an infomercial thus making it less appealing and ultimately unwatchable.
Wait - - - what was I saying about product placement ? ?