Pickering announced his resignation last night, after nearly 5 years on the TEN show, following the recent exit of Dave Hughes.
Carrie Bickmore will become the longest-standing presenter on the Roving Enterprises show, which began with a team of 5 including Ruby Rose and James Mathison. It soon settled to the trio of Pickering, Hughes and Bickmore with a family of regular guest hosts and panelists.
Executive Producer Craig Campbell told TV Tonight, “The show will step up it’s regular contributors and the format will continue to deliver its daily take on the news in the unique Project way.”
Replacing the versatile Pickering will not be easy. He has learned to deftly balance news, comedy, snark and live presenting -despite no background in journalism.
Pickering only has two regular ‘deputys’ in Waleed Aly and Dr. Andrew Rochford (Hamish Macdonald has since departed TEN). The latter is Sydney based and becoming a permanent host will be difficult.
Executive Director of News and Current Affairs, Peter Meakin, will likely want to take the opportunity to bolster the show and apply his talents as knowing what works with audiences. Pickering’s exit is actually a window of opportunity to refresh the show as it battles extended News bulletins.
So what names should he put on the shortlist?
At the top of the list should be Shaun Micallef: a perfect mix of intellect, humour and presenting experience, who is popular with the TEN audience. Micallef even recently said he wanted a nightly Daily Show-style programme – but he also likes to drive his own content, understandably. Asking him to fit into someone else’s ‘baby’ could be too much like pushing a square peg in a round hole.
Wil Anderson would be ideal, but is Sydney based. The commitment required also severely restricts their own work.
One option would be to go an poach from elsewhere. The show may not be a ratings blockbuster, but there would be plenty of people working in news and journalism who would relish the opportunity to juggle the show’s topics: politics, the economy, entertainment, social causes, international news, etc.
Steve Cannane and Sabour Bradley would be worth considering too.
I would even give Eddie Perfect a guest stint in the chair. He is smart, funny, likeable, young and with a bit of edge. All the things Pickering has going for him.
Other names such as Matt Doran and Paul McDermott are also Sydney-based, making them a long shot to take the chair.
I guess Derryn is always free…
UPDATED: TEN advises Charlie will not be replaced.