WALEED ALY

GET­TING WITH THE PROJECT

Herald Sun - Switched On - - FRONT PAGE -

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

switch off”

WALEED ALY ON HIS EDITORIALS

THE PROJECT, CHAN­NEL 10, WEEKNIGHTS, 6.30PM

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