Ailing Mubarak Hopes to Hold on for Season 10 Premiere of Project Runway

One day you are the leader of a North African republic, and the next day you are out.

S EGYPT'S former president, Hosni Mubarak, passes in and out of consciousness, his closest friends and allies have confirmed that the ousted leader is "hoping against hope" to hold on long enough to view the premiere of the popular fashion series Project Runway, which begins its tenth season on Thursday, July 19, on the Lifetime channel.

A huge fan of Project Runway, Mubarak is thought to have willed himself to live this long just to get a glimpse of the latest group of fashion designers, who will compete to earn the chance to show their line at New York's Fashion Week.

"Hosni is also very taken with Heidi Klum," said a close Mubarak associate who spoke only on condition of anonymity.

"He calls her 'the blonde Isis,' and wants to hear her say 'Auf Wiedersehen' to a disgraced designer just one more time," said the friend.

"Hosni knows first hand what it's like to 'auf' someone," he added, brushing away a tear.

Mubarak is also said to be a big admirer of the sartorial flair demonstrated by Project Runway's other big draw, the dapper fashion consultant Tim Gunn, who usually sports a smart suit and tie while holding forth in the designers' spacious workroom.

"Hosni has always admired a man who knows how to dress beautifully," observed one cousin, "even if the man is a homosexual who should be executed by the state," she said.

Lifetime has refused all requests by Mubarak's family to send dvd's of Season 10 so that the former president can enjoy some of the series immediately, given his grave condition.

A spokeswoman for Lifetime said the request "would put Mr. Mubarak before all of our other viewers who are not ousted leaders of a North African nation.

"We think of our fans as one big family," continued the spokeswoman, "where no one gets special treatment, unless they happen to be Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie and are willing to do some promos. In that case, we will overnight the whole darn season!"

The spokeswoman did offer to send Mr. Mubarak an autographed photo of Heidi Klum, "but not one of Tim Gunn until he stops all that execution silly talk. This is the Lifetime network, after all."