Monday to Friday, 6.30pm
Starring: Charlie Pickering, Carrie Bickmore, Dave Hughes
THE Project is a lively and entertaining alternative to traditional news/current affairs formats. But is it any good?
Hosted by the quick and slick duo of TV wunderkind Charlie Pickering and former Rove sidekick Carrie Bickmore, the show formerly known as the 7pm Project has found a niche in the highly competitive news market.
Treating a fine line between serious news reporting (or as serious as TV gets) and trashy current affairs programs, it seeks to inform and entertain in equal measures.
A rotating list of regular co-hosts include Dave Hughes, Lehmo and Peter Hellier who provide a steady stream of jokes to keep things from getting too serious.
Cherry picking the big stories of the day, The Project team will concentrate on “water cooler” issues ranging from schoolies week to the latest iPhone release or education reforms.
In some ways the shows works quite well, offering news for an audience that doesn’t have the stomach for an ABC diet of political stories or a Today Tonight menu of mindless beat-ups.
Where it lets itself down is the constant and predictable opinions from the main hosts, especially Charlie Pickering.
By hectoring the audience on what they should be thinking, rather than posing questions that might make them challenge their pre-conceived ideas, the show becomes little more a politically correct version of the excretable Fox News in the US.
During one show, Charlie Pickering told the audience that no-one he speaks to has any concerns about asylum seekers coming to Australia.
Opinion poll results suggest he may need to broaden his social circle.
The most interesting question posed by the show is this: is it better to have a dumb-downed, easy to digest news service that people actually watch or an informative and serious program that people ignore?
No need to think about it too hard – Charlie will tell you the answer.
– Danny Buttler