PROJECT’S PROMISE DELIVERS
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.