Andrew Bolt to replace Charlie Pickering on The Project

By David Knox on April 1, 2014 / Filed Under News 131

bolt-project2EXCLUSIVE: Outspoken News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt will replace Charlie Pickering on The Project.

Bolt, who is in his fourth year as host of The Bolt Report, will join Carrie Bickmore and Peter Helliar at the desk after Pickering departs next week.

The surprise move is designed to make the show more ‘watercooler’ and help lift TEN’s primetime ratings share, and follows Bolt’s Sunday morning show being quietly extended from 30 to 60 minutes this year.

Charlie Pickering announced his departure earlier this month but while no permanent replacement was announced, TV Tonight understands testing has been underway at TEN’s Como building in South Yarra.

A TEN insider said, “Love him or loathe him, Andrew Bolt gets people talking and right now TEN realises that’s just what they need. Steve Price has worked well for the show so Bolter is the next logical step. It will all make sense after the Murdoch camp buys the network for a song.”

Roving Productions is understood to have agreed to more coverage of the Abbott government policies and less talk on climate change, while asylum seeker issues are off the table unless the story can elicit some tears from Carrie Bickmore -considered by producers to be ‘ratings gold.’

Bolt was coaxed into joining the show in order to take on “that reckless, unapologetic ABC”, before realising the public broadcaster actually out-rates Network TEN.

Meanwhile The Project is also expected to move back to a 6pm start to allow MasterChef to screen at 7pm. Sources suggest Programming never wanted to move its Reality shows to 7:30pm in the first place, but it was a decision made by an executive who was on pain killers at the time.

However the moves have also caused rumblings within The Project office, with a petition set to unroll at change.org and Peter Helliar threatening to start telling ‘Dad’ jokes in protest. Carrie Bickmore was more upbeat about the changes, overheard telling colleagues, “You think you got problems? I’m hosting a Dance show on shopping night! Compared to those ratings this show is practically Game of Thrones!”

TEN declined to comment on the details, simply saying, “The Project is in the top 15 shows for  13-29 year olds.

“We are in this for the long haul. “

131 Comments »

  1. David Knox April 4, 2014 at 1:17 am -

    Oops. Thanks, I missed that.

  2. Maev....Sydney April 4, 2014 at 1:00 am -

    Reading news.com.au about AFD pranks…and apparently DK caught out Age reporter…he tweeted the news…
    ‘This prank was clever enough to catch out some rather serious people, such as The Age’s state political reporter, Richard Willingham.’

  3. A. April 2, 2014 at 3:00 am -

    I did guess this was the April Fools’ Day joke before I opened it. But really excellent one. As someone else mentioned especially the pain killers comment. :D

    Let’s hope they don’t get ideas about it.

  4. Chris N. April 1, 2014 at 10:08 pm -

    I fall for it every year but this time I was ready for you, Knox :P It was good fun, though! I burst out laughing at the “ratings gold” comment.

  5. sugaryoung April 1, 2014 at 9:40 pm -

    yea I’m with J Bar ..

  6. thedailyedition April 1, 2014 at 8:23 pm -

    if this was true id be saying something like… well it had a good run. lol.

  7. William April 1, 2014 at 7:09 pm -

    @carolemorrissey – MTP is unlikely to return this year as The Talk will be back on 10 very soon

  8. chivasssimo April 1, 2014 at 6:08 pm -

    Next year: Seven to axe MKR

  9. catherine April 1, 2014 at 6:02 pm -

    wow 121 comments. Is that a record? Nice joke

  10. bleachy_dude April 1, 2014 at 5:59 pm -

    This got a mention on Studio 10 today.

  11. carolemorrissey April 1, 2014 at 5:42 pm -

    So sorry I missed this earlier today, I was working so wasn’t on Twitter much. I was wondering what your April Fool joke would be today. Like a few others have said, I hope it doesn’t give 10 any stupid ideas. So has Meet The Press been dumped completely now that Bolt is an hour?

  12. maxxdude April 1, 2014 at 2:50 pm -

    You realize David that the Ten board are probably going to consider this now!!! Thank David. Haha.

  13. michael1970 April 1, 2014 at 2:35 pm -

    nice joke david but the scary part about this is that it may happen given the path channel 10 are heading down at the moment

  14. J Bar April 1, 2014 at 2:19 pm -

    I was going to add to my original comment: Please don’t give Ten execs ideas. They don’t know when people are joking. :lol:

  15. Secret Squirrel April 1, 2014 at 2:11 pm -

    Another classic TVT AFD joke with some nice little nods to some recent events, esp the exec being on pain-killers. Altho’ I prob would’ve left the line about the Murdochs buying Ten until later (everyone’s a critic). Nicely written, shame it didn’t catch a few more out (or maybe it did but they’re not saying).

  16. Maev....Sydney April 1, 2014 at 2:03 pm -

    Wow!…lotsa posts….wonder how many calls TEN had to field?

  17. db April 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm -

    I fell for it!!! Completely. Even as the story become more and more bizarre, I still thought everything there was utterly believable. You, sir, have bested me good.

  18. ashbeer April 1, 2014 at 1:08 pm -

    Nice April Fools David! ;)

  19. gregaus April 1, 2014 at 12:58 pm -

    I would have loved another article announcing that SYTYCD is changing formats mid-season and switching to the one used on Everybody Dance Now for the remainder of the season, called “So You Think Everybody Can Dance Now”.

  20. Engine003 April 1, 2014 at 12:49 pm -

    Hahaha. This is like that time you said Gina Rinehard was taking over as CEO.

    That being said, you might be giving Ten ideas. Considering their recent history of installing right wing shock jocks on expensive programming, the execs at Ten are probably thinking “Andrew Bolt on The Project? What a great idea. Why didn’t we think of that?”.

  21. David Knox April 1, 2014 at 12:48 pm -

    Thanks to everybody for the fun comments. It’s a shame this day only comes once a year, really.

    As many readers know, AFD is a tradition here and I was tossing up various ideas to run with. But I always like to take something that is already out there and run with it just a little bit further. Of course I always pen my yarns so that the reader goes “What the…?” but as the story progresses and becomes more and more bizarre, they are left in no doubt. I never really expect anybody to be sucked in entirely.

    The story has had a good deal of traction on social media including from The Project’s only feed “Do not bolt to conclusions” and thanks to TEN folk who were good sports about it all. I’ll have to check if it cops a mention tonight on the show itself.

    As always, thanks for playing everybody! David.

  22. LeoG April 1, 2014 at 12:30 pm -

    Even though I knew it was an April Fools joke a little bit of vomit came up into my mouth.

  23. Bullswool April 1, 2014 at 12:14 pm -

    After being fooled by your Gina Rineheart becomes ten CEO gag last year I wasn’t this time, though I was half expecting to see the headline ‘Wake Up beats Sunrise’ though I suppose no one would believe that.

  24. jezza the first original one April 1, 2014 at 12:06 pm -

    Am I the only comment who is absolutely gutted that this is not true and just an Apfil Fools Day joke?

    Jeez I thought Scott Pape presenting a housing show was the AFD gag….damn

  25. djay April 1, 2014 at 12:02 pm -

    I checked in especially to read your April Fools Joke this year. :-))

  26. Karlos April 1, 2014 at 11:58 am -

    Happy April Fool’s David but unfortunately you didn’t catch me this time!

  27. sjw156 April 1, 2014 at 11:46 am -

    I hate April fools day!

  28. Maev....Sydney April 1, 2014 at 11:44 am -

    He he *giggle*….headline had me fuming and ‘I will never watch this show again’….
    Good one DK!

  29. lulu April 1, 2014 at 11:40 am -

    Two years in a row The Project is the target for your April Fools joke. Luckily I knew the date, otherwise I would have been outraged at the changes! My favourite line would have to be “a decision made by an executive who was on pain killers at the time”. Apart from the headline, that was the give away for me, and the fact there are no comments posted as I type this! ;)

  30. Menicci April 1, 2014 at 11:37 am -

    I can only assume this is an April fools gag!

  31. Mark W April 1, 2014 at 11:35 am -

    This is a great April Fool Joke..Great writing David!!
    The sad thing is that 10 will probably do this..

  32. Den April 1, 2014 at 11:34 am -

    Nearly got me.

  33. gregaus April 1, 2014 at 11:33 am -

    The only thing missing is an accompanying quote from Ten’s director of programming, David Mott talking up the idea of Bolt replacing Pickering.

  34. Lyn April 1, 2014 at 11:28 am -

    April Fool’s Joke! :)

  35. AllanPo April 1, 2014 at 11:25 am -

    Yep, and Pauline Hanson will become a regular guest. Happy April Fools’.

  36. Cairo April 1, 2014 at 11:24 am -

    David my hart sunk when you released this this morning.

    But then 5 mins later I looked at my watch and I am bloody hoping this is an April fools joke.

    You did get me for a good 5 mins

  37. lkernan April 1, 2014 at 11:22 am -

    I was half expecting a story about Ten winning the ratings last night. You’ve gone one better.

  38. paultv April 1, 2014 at 11:19 am -

    Good one David :)

  39. Veritas April 1, 2014 at 11:13 am -

    From one comedian to another…

  40. ricoz April 1, 2014 at 11:11 am -

    Channel Ten… the right wing network.

  41. BarrieT April 1, 2014 at 11:10 am -

    Happy April fools day David. I got down to the bit about exec being on painkillers til I twigged. Well done almost fooled me

  42. MrsStepford April 1, 2014 at 11:01 am -

    David – I was listening to you and Fran this morning when you announced this appointment.

    I highly suspect this is a April Fools joke……!

    If it isn’t – heaven help us all. Especially 10!

  43. Paul007 April 1, 2014 at 10:59 am -

    I am calling this one as an April Fools Joke written by Mr Knox

  44. SaxyBre84 April 1, 2014 at 10:55 am -

    What the?!

    I heard he’s hosting the Logies to.

    Isn’t today April Fools?

  45. csh April 1, 2014 at 10:50 am -

    This is the most obvious April Fool’s joke I’ve ever seen.

  46. hels April 1, 2014 at 10:47 am -

    What day is it again?

  47. Bradiola April 1, 2014 at 10:46 am -

    Gotta love April 1

  48. JoeS April 1, 2014 at 10:44 am -

    I did however note some truth in your article as well…”but it was a decision made by an executive who was on pain killers at the time.”

  49. GumbyAus April 1, 2014 at 10:42 am -

    April fools.

  50. JoeS April 1, 2014 at 10:42 am -

    Hahaha you had me for about 3 seconds this year David…

  51. deedeedragons April 1, 2014 at 10:38 am -

    Nice try David.

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