GETTING WITH THE PROJECT
The Project has finally found its groove. After more than 18 months of turmoil, Ten’s offbeat current affairs show is in a settled place.
Dave Hughes pulled the pin as co-host at the end of 2013. Charlie Pickering followed a mere four months later. All of a sudden, Carrie Bickmore was the sole original host still left on the show.
Peter Helliar replaced Hughes in January 2014 with Rove McManus a six-month stopgap for Pickering while executive producer Craig Campbell looked for a permanent replacement. For most of last year, The Project felt out of sorts. Rotating guest hosts never quite gelled.
All of that changed in January when Waleed Aly, the 37-year-old lawyer and academic, joined the show.
“We’ve got the luxury now of having a permanent line-up and a constancy to the voices there,” Campbell says.
Aly is now a regular presenter on The Project.
“I love the range of The Project,” Aly says. “One minute you’re grilling a minister and the next you’re riffing about pop culture and then something about sport.
“Carrie and Pete are very easy to get along with. There is chemistry. Everyone has a real range of interests and strengths. I feel there is an instinctive understanding between us. The things you don’t see as a viewer are Pete’s comic judgment or his notion of what is or isn’t worth talking about.
“Carrie’s TV judgment is really exceptional. Some of her greatest contributions (are behind the scenes) such as how to flip the rundown to make sure it flows better.”
Aly’s on-air editorials about the Border Force Act, the deaths of drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, and the lack of Federal funding for the prevention of domestic violence have ignited comment. And the controversy hasn’t hurt the show — ratings are up around 10 per cent on last year.
“It wasn’t like I had to stare people down to give me a platform,” Aly says. “The producers had been thinking about it before I joined. It (editorials) gives The Project a little bit of extra bite. It is meant to be good TV that people will find hard to switch off. It has been quite flattering the way it has been received.”
“It is meant to be good TV that people will find hard to
WALEED ALY ON HIS EDITORIALS
THE PROJECT, CHANNEL 10, WEEKNIGHTS, 6.30PM