The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY TV -

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. The mish­mash of ro­tat­ing guest hosts never quite jelled.

All of that changed in Jan­uary when Waleed Aly was picked to join Bickmore and Helliar. The 37-year-old lawyer and aca­demic is just what the show needed.

“I think Waleed has brought an in­tel­li­gence to the show that is refreshing for us,” Camp­bell says.

“This show is very much a byprod­uct of the peo­ple you have pre­sent­ing it.’’

Aly had been a reg­u­lar Fri­day night pre­sen­ter on The Project. He quit his job as Drive pre­sen­ter on Ra­dio Na­tional to take up the TV role.

“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.’’ Aly’s on-air editorials about top­ics in­clud­ing 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.

The con­tro­versy hasn’t hurt the show.

Rat­ings are up about 10 per cent com­pared with last year.

The Project's

Waleed Aly.

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