Proud of their project
FOUR years on, Channel 10's nightly current affairs experiment The Project is still going strong.
The nightly news show, anchored by Carrie Bickmore, Charlie Pickering and Dave Hughes, celebrates its fourth anniversary on Saturday.
"In TV in Australia you've got to be pretty chuffed with four years," Pickering told The Guide.
"We really feel proud not just that we've survived but survived doing the show we wanted to do.
"We built this show from scratch; there was no template. It has definitely evolved a lot, but it still does what our mission statement says."
That mission, according to Pickering, is a relaxed, conversational current affairs program where viewers feel like they can "hang out".
"We want to feel like the viewer and the guests are over at a dinner party and we talk about what happened in the world that day," he said.
"We have no interest in pretending we know better than anyone… we try to treat the news the way regular people treat the news.
"People don't read the newspaper in the coffee room at work and put on a serious voice and tell people what they should be doing. They have a conversation about it and joke around."
While the show strives for balance with many of its stories and through more conservative-leaning panelists like Steve Price, it unashamedly champions particular issues.
"We're very strong on the fact that vaccinations save lives and are good for the country," Pickering said.
"It's the same thing with climate change. We're just not going to entertain positions that can't back themselves up with facts."
Pickering's personal highlights include covering US President Barack Obama's re-election last year, and actress Magda Szubanski choosing The Project to come out to the nation.
"From day one we've been pushing marriage equality…. and that means a lot to us," he said.
"I think an hour of TV a night is quite a privilege and I think you should take that privilege seriously and not waste it on trivial things, but of course you should be entertaining."