His departure follows the recent exit of Dave Hughes.
“The Project has been an incredible ride. I have been able to interview everyone from Prime Ministers and astrophysicists to my comedy heroes like Will Ferrell, John Cleese, Clive James and Billy Connolly,” he said.
“As a stand-up comedian I have never planned to do one thing for five years, let alone five days a week. At the end of last year it was clear to me that I needed to find new challenges.
“I’m very thankful to TEN for all they have done for me. From casting me as a team captain on Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation to believing that I could anchor a show like The Project, their support has been invaluable. I hope it is a relationship that will continue into the future,” he said.
“I will miss working with Carrie, Pete Helliar and all of our regulars. I will miss having my hair maintained by a team of professionals.
“Our show has been able to provide a voice to many in our community who go unnoticed. And of that I am immensely proud.
Pickering made the decision late last year, but is understood to have been persuaded to remain on given Dave Hughes was leaving, replaced by Peter Helliar. However, the news also carries some heartening personal news for Pickering and his partner, Sarah.
“Sarah and I are also thrilled to be expecting our first child later this year, and will use this opportunity to take a trip overseas while we still can,” he said.
Craig Campbell, Executive Producer, Roving Enterprises, told TV Tonight, “Charlie has been a great part of us for so long…obviously we’ve known for a while that he’s was planning to move on. I’m incredibly happy he is to be a dad and massively proud of him. He has become a passionate broadcaster in the time we have played together, and is such a gifted comedian.
“His ability to use that comedy as social commentary has been the most joyous part of his time with us. The show will step up it’s regular contributors and the format will continue to deliver it’s daily take on the news in the unique Project way.
“That ‘Project way’ is a style that Charlie has helped us establish, and for that I can’t thank him enough.”
Newly-installed Executive Director of News and Current Affairs, Peter Meakin, recently took responsibility for the show as part of his News portfolio.
This year The Project has faced stiff competition with Nine and Seven extending their 6pm News. But the show is much-loved within TEN as representing the network brand.
It still performs well within youthful demos, including netting Logie wins for Carrie Bickmore and even wins in the TV Tonight Awards. In addition to its cross-promo opportunities and inexpensive production costs, the show still attracts an audience when TEN is struggling in primetime.
“As a network, we owe Charlie a big debt of gratitude. He has been an essential part of The Project for five years. We have already discussed another concept which would showcase his considerable talents but it’s very early days yet,” said Peter Meakin.
Pickering’s final show will be on April 7th.