Does anyone watch The Project?

Australian viewers may not be watching The Project, but it seems officials at Channel 10 do watch and intend to keep  the show on television indefinitely.

Overview

A change in television trends saw a number of television networks and studios cancel some of their long-standing, flagship shows in recent years. This is because the sentimentality of the shows in question were considered the reason they continued to run on television long after their peaks.

While for many of these shows, avid fans would call for the return of the show after the conclusion of its natural run, for the most part, the shows had enough content to keep fans entertained if they binge-watched old episodes.

However, when it comes to the current affairs show, The Project, it seems that despite fans calling for its conclusion, Channel 10 executives are adamant to keep the dying show going.

Who produces The Project?

The Project first premiered on Channel 10 in 2009. The inception of the show saw it reach its highest reported live viewership numbers with a reported 1.2 million viewers tuning in.

The number was impressive and was accredited to show producer Rove McManus, who produced the show for Roving Enterprises.

The current affairs talk-format show is anchored by its hosts, Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly, Tommy Little, and Peter Helliar.

Throughout the 13-year run of the show, its hosts have also been the reason for some of the most embarrassing moments that have resulted in the continued calls for the show to be cancelled.

Does anyone watch The Project?

As it turns out, an estimated 490 000 viewers tune into Channel 10 to watch The Project, according to reports shared in January 2022.

While for some shows, this number may be impressive, for a show like The Project, it is disappointing, considering the numbers that the show used to yield during what was deemed its peak in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

The show had viewership numbers of 1.2 million when it first premiered, averaging 725 000 viewers during its peak. Hence, the show having such a noticeable dip in viewership numbers poses the question, why is it still airing?

Firstly, this is clearly not at the request or demand of the viewers. In actuality, it seems the show is here because of the desires of Channel 10’s executives.

Channel 10 confirms The Project “is here to stay”

In January 2022, Channel 10 came into disrepute as it allegedly cut some of the hosts’ salaries, including those of Carrie Bickmore and Lisa Wilkinson.

The salary cuts were supposedly as a result of the show’s drastic dip in viewership numbers, with the public believing that this was the beginning of the end for the show. But Channel 10 shared a statement assuring the public that:

The Project has just celebrated its 12th birthday and is here to stay! At a time when information, context and understanding is more important than ever, The Project will continue to provide Australians with their dose of news delivered differently.”

Insider confirms executive decision to keep The Project

The conversation regarding when The Project will be cancelled has plagued the show for years now. However, the steadfastness of the Channel 10 executives has been as resolute as the public calls demanding an end to the current affairs show.

In 2020 already, it was reported by an insider that the channel had no intention of ending the show, explaining:

“Although it fails to attract a big audience, it does do well in certain demographics. There’s also the argument that it is popular on Facebook and drives social engagement, but that doesn’t translate to advertising dollars. Still, it will never be cancelled because senior management won’t hear a bad word said against it.”

The Project: The last kicks of a dying horse

In November 2021, Rob McKnight, a former Channel 10 executive spoke to TV Blackbox on how The Project is the last kicks of a dying horse.

He suggested that Channel 10 is failing at adapting to the changing television trends due to the influx and influence of video-on-demand and streaming services.

McKnight went onto state, “They’re all struggling, but 10 seriously is the wounded animal limping and the fact is they keep running the same s**t and recommissioning the same s**t and it’s not flying with the public.”

Final thoughts

The American and European television and film industry have started making tangible changes in recent years to accommodate the changes introduced by the advent of video-on-demand streaming services.

This is because they recognised that ignoring the change might result in the stagnancy and ultimate death of their established networks and channels.

However, it seems that in Australia, one of the leading networks and channels is choosing the traditional method of force-feeding viewers content that they have explicitly made clear they do not want.

One prime example of this is the insistence of keeping a show like The Project running, despite its long list of onscreen awkward moments, a drastic drop in viewership, and scandals following it behind the scenes.