Charlie Pickering quits The Project

2014-03-12_2135Charlie Pickering has quit The Project after nearly five years.

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.


  1. Seems to be an abundance of left wing Comedians that could replace him,they only need to look at the ABC or SBS and I’m sure they will find some comrades willing to step up.

  2. One thing that endears the Project to me, and why I would defend the program against all its detractors, is the fact that this program does real and lasting good for the community. It’s featured many charities, profiled people of great worth, and covered issues that usually aren’t covered by any other news program other than on the ABC or SBS. Far from being a leftist, I’ve always felt Charlie Pickering was a humanist, that he would always favour the anything that supported the humanity in people and how we deal with each other. Possibly he could be the conscience of the Project, and if he was, his loss leave a big hole.

  3. People saying that Micallef would fit on The Project because of Mad As Hell are crazy. Completely different worlds. Personally, don’t even think Mad As Hell is his best work, sometimes just isn’t funny at all.

    Sad to see Charlie go, but if the show must go on I’d have to agree Waleed or even a fresh face (as in, a person Australia has barely seen before, like Pickering).

  4. Big fan of The Project from the get-go and still am. It’s funny, informative and really tries to educate unlike ACA and TT. Charlie is a huge loss, no question, I sincerely hope Ten don’t pull the plug and continue on with it. In terms of replacement, Waleed Ali for the win, hands down, no contest.

  5. I really love that people who claim to never watch the show, also feel a strong urge to personally attack Pickering with comments on this page that include how this show “killed” Channel Ten when it’s The Project that’s (currently) Ten’s highest rating show – and all whilst not using a single capital letter. Where’s that can of troll spray?

  6. @austvheritage,
    I love the way that people bandy around the word hater to describe some-one who doesn’t share their opinion. So if a person doesn’t like a program or a personality, they’re not entitled to say so? Sounds like a form of censorship to me.

  7. Very sad to see Charlie go – but on the other hand, congrats on being a dad! I would love to see the Project continue as it is the alternative to the recycled sensationalist crap of ACA/TT (in Seven News now). However, i fear that with Charlie gone, the dynamic may be hard to replace with someone else. It seems obvious that he needs a replacement, but the article sounds like Meakin was saying he wouldn’t be??

  8. Really sad to see Charlie go. Another of the originals leaving in a matter of 6 months really gives the show a bad impression, despite consistent (although poor) ratings. The only bit that really concerns me is who now is going to really analyse and ask the right questions of guests? Carrie, Peter and the fill-in hosts just ask the safe questions, whereas Charlie really cross-examined to get answers (his lawyer side coming out) which is needed in good news reporting. I wish him all the best.

  9. once-upon-a-time

    The listing to starboard continues on the ‘Costa Ten Cordia’, now if only those at the helm jumped ship as quickly as those responsible for the sinking of its sister ship, there may be a chance to prevent a similar inevitable capsize.

    Many like myself will miss Charlie, and it will be interesting to look back at the archives to compare the the pros and cons comments posted when Mr Hughes departed the project.

    I wish Charlie and his growing family nothing but the best for the future, and must congratulate him for achieving a comedians ultimate punch line and possibly proving that indeed.

    ‘ Pregnancy is taking seriously what was poked at you in fun’

  10. Will definitely miss him, he was an intelligent & well grounded presenter who’s opinions I actually respected. Hope to see him back from time to time.

  11. @oztvheritage – I agree – here come The Project bashers……

    I’m really sad to read this. I love CP and his wit is so so clever! He and Carrie are great together – I’m going to miss them as a duo.

    Congrats on his exciting news though and wishing him all the best.

    I’ll still be watching with bells on!

  12. Maev....Sydney

    Charlie has looked like he was not quite so enthused for sometime now…well to me….
    But what is with all these people at TEN..suddenly wanting new things…do they really…just seems strange to me…

  13. Huge loss to the show. In many ways, Charlie is The Project. He’s a great anchor for the funny moments, the serious moments and the moments that need intelligent analysis.
    I was never a fan of Hughes and was glad to see him go, but the loss of two regulars in such a short period of time will no doubt impact the show. I can’t imagine Bickmore wanting to stick around much longer either with a young child.
    They need to replace Charlie with a regular and not have a rotating main anchor.

  14. I used to criticise the show but – gee – five years?

    If Mr Meakin is happy to let it roll on then it should continue to be 10’s potential true point of difference.

    At least Meakin should be able to find the right time slot for The Project…

  15. Sad to see Pickering depart The Project. First it was Dave Hughes who departed The Project at the end of last year but now Pickering will depart in April. Perhaps Waleed Aly would replace Charlie Pickering.

  16. All the best to Charlie in his “off camera” life!

    I have no doubt, he will pick up future television work, as he is intelligent and a “sharp” if not “understated” comedian.

    In my view,The Project, has been a “refreshing” way to look at the day’s news and current affairs

  17. I always liked Charlie on The Project, he could do both serious news and crack a joke and I think he’ll be missed.

    I wonder how much it’ll affect the ratings though, I can see it took a dip when Hughesy departed but maybe a bit of a refresh will do The Project some good.

  18. I don’t watch The Project that often, just the odd segment here and there, but I did like Charlie and his humour. The guy who usually takes his place would be a good replacement, Waleed if I’m correct as well as Andrew Rochford.
    I’d hate to see another wash, rinse and repeat Roving Ent ‘talent’ take his place.

  19. So what happens now I wonder? Pete Helliar was the replacement for Dave Hughes (even though we still have Lehmo come in from time to time), but who is going to be Charlie’s replacement? The sounds of things so far is that it will be a revolving chair and in that case I’m not too sure how they’ll do the promo shots.

  20. Is this the cue for Project bashers to go for it ….again.

    This is big news but not surprising. This show would be quite demanding for most full time cast and crew. and 5 years is a good stint. Charlie has developed into a fine anchor over the last 5 years and certainly hope TEN find another vehicle for him. I feel a weekly interview show (Enough Rope like) would be well suited for him and a perfect low cost program for Ten to produce – but needs big names.

    For The Project…quite big shoes to fill. Certainly hope they do find somebody of quality and the show lives on. It is a quality product and sooooo much better than the competition.

  21. And for those who say The Project should be cancelled, that’s why TV’s going to die eventually. It’s already filled with mindless crap, The Project actually tries to explain the news rather than ignore it. Less stories on some Royal baby coming to Australia and more stories on serious issues.

  22. Channel Ten will constantly be in a rebuild phase if they keep worrying about the balance sheet, which is something that would have lead to this and the other departure of Miss Rose in this past week. They are gun shy about going after broadcast rights of sports that they want no involvement in such as AFL due to Mr Murdoch preferring the NRL which is no doubt going to hurt them.

  23. Very sad to hear. Charlie made The Project what it is, and actually, in a move that’s so rare nowadays, grilled some of his guests. Most presenters don’t have the guts, and he got some honest answers in the process. Also had a strong voice throughout the show on topics. You could see he was passionate, and wasn’t just reading an autocue with a script written by someone else.

    Won’t be the same without him. Hopefully he returns to TV sooner rather than later.

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