Why The Project was left untouched in 10 News cuts
Critics questioning The Project being spared job cuts overlook a few fundamentals.
Since yesterday’s savage cuts in 10 yesterday, there’s been some reports questioning why The Project was spared when 10 News First and Studio 10 were not.
But many overlook the simple fact The Project is not part of the 10 News Division.
It sits under 10’s Head of Popular Factual Sarah Thornton, who also oversees The Living Room, Ambulance Australia, One Born Every Minute and Todd Sampson’s Body Hack.
That’s not the only reason.
The show is also produced externally by Roving Enterprises, meaning the staff salaries and costs fall under separate budgets and a third party.
10 News First and Studio 10 are produced internally, helmed by Network Director of News Content, Ross Dagan.
Like all news, The Project has also been enjoying a lift through the horrors of 2020 pandemic and bushfires stories. The Sunday Project is particularly up in 2020. 10 says last week The Project 7pm was up 24% on 2019 (…mind you they also noted 10 News First was up 16%).
These have led to revenue rises, which again favoured it yesterday. Sources suggest most of its advertiser slots for the rest of 2020 are locked in, with optimistic / positive stories faring well with client brands.
That said, The Project does draw upon the resources of the news department for footage, live crosses and more. This entails link trucks, camera crews, manpower. Without the news department, the show could barely broadcast “news delivered differently” 6 nights a week.
But it’s a tough week for the 10 News department, already stretched when the network ditched Celebrity Name Game and extended from 5pm to 6:30pm. TV Tonight understands no extra budget was allocated with that move.
The Project is indeed a favourite child at 10, long considered the one show that best reflects the identity of the network.
Daniel Monaghan, Director of Programming: once said, “The Project represents our DNA perfectly. It’s news but it’s different. It’s fresh. It has a great cast of core talent, it’s brilliantly made. It’s entirely our DNA.”
At their 10th birthday last year, Beverley McGarvey also told the production team, “The reason The Project is so successful is when we watch we see the best of society reflected back at us. We see something confronting, provocative, thoughtful and considered. It’s a place where conversations can begin.
“A lot of other shows bring out the worst in us, but I think it’s amazing to have show everyday that shows the best of what people can be.”
This week, 10 News staff may well be asking whether they are equally appreciated by network bean counters and whether their role in helping The Project succeed is recognised.