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.

29 Responses

  1. David – speaking of Ambulance Australia, is that currently filming or has it been put on hold due to Corona? Did have a friend mention he read somewhere that they were going to film in Adelaide/SA – or that might’ve been Paramedics on Nine?

  2. I still rather Studio 10 over 7 or 9’s morning shows. I wonder why Ten doesn’t produce a late night version show like Project or Studio 10 that has Adult discussions, Stories & humor. So many of us are still up at 10pm and would like something Fresh & interesting to watch, currently I’m watching the late news offerings on 7 & 9 but I would love something new.

    1. Agree….something decent other than drama drama drama…would be nice…
      Even give a few up and coming entertainers a platform…not expensive…
      But not another Rove or over used person….The Circle on a couch would go well I think..

  3. I’ve never understood the hate towards The Project – it’s must see tv in my house. I see so many negative comments on their social media pages but if you don’t like the show, why follow the page?! No show is 100% liked by everyone so why can’t the haters stay silent and let us who like it enjoy it!

    1. The right wing nut jobs love to watch The Project and take joy in becoming “righteously enraged” at any content that doesn’t suit their political views and dogma. Its quit humorous and also pathetic at the same time.

      Most of my family and friends, Liberal and Labour watch The Project..

      1. agreed, when people love to hate something its a good marker of the hated’s success.
        The Project brings some great talents together, i used to find the revolving desks of hosts annoying but now its actually refreshing having a good mix that bounce off each other well.

  4. Thank you…. ‘mind you they also noted 10 News First was up 16%’ ..I guess that will drop considerably now…a lot of very angry viewers…especially here in Sydney…losing our weather man for a ‘national meteorologist’…Advertisers will surely jump off a sinking ship 😞

  5. Thanks for the explanation, David. That makes sense why The Project wasn’t touched.

    Must be really hard for them too. Natarsha Belling would appear on The Project regularly, so I’ll miss seeing her on that, too (although I’m assuming she could appear under Roving Enterprises?).

    Waleed Aly really copped a serve when all these changes were announced. I don’t understand it, frankly. A lot of the comments I saw were beyond the pale.

  6. How does Lisa fit into this – she was signed to the Project and as editor of Ten Daily, which met it’s maker in May this year. Roving wouldn’t be paying her entire salary I would hope.

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