To their credit, Channel 10 had a go, however it suffered from a pretty high-profile change in timeslot and a News department that has been continually swirling with changes in 2011 alone. It was always going to be a risk shifting Negus from his one night a week spot on The 7PM Project to his own 30min current affairs program 5 nights a week with little support, but they had a go.

It was good too, not diving into the usual current affairs fodder of bras and burqas but rather taking the time to develop a story and use it’s talent to deliver a solid package. This can only be highlighted by Hamish Macdonald’s recent Walkley nomination for the story he did on Japain recovering from the tsunami earlier this year (and yet Channel 9 didn’t received one Walkley nomination at all… but I digress).

With only 4 weeks of the TV year to go, it’s a shame the network didn’t let 6:30 with George Negus see out the year. To Ten’s credit, they did stick with it much longer than any other network, giving it a chance to develop and grow an audience.

This opens the gap for The 7PM Project to extend and simply become The Project, starting at 6:30pm. It’ll likely be a smart move and draw tired eyes back to Ch10 in the 6:30pm timeslot. From the press release:

Flipping its name to The Project and kicking off at 6.30pm from Monday 31 October, Network Ten have decided to give Hughesy, Charlie and Carrie more time to deliver you the news of the day in their own unique way.

Since its premiere in 2009, The Project has firmly established itself in the television landscape as the place where journalists, commentators, news makers and funny people come together to work out what the hell is going on in this world we all share.

Informative, relevant and funny, The Project takes pride of place as the No. 1 regular week-night news service for Australia’s 16-39 year olds and has redefined the way Australians watch news.

“TEN has given us more time and we’re not going to say no. Carrie, Hughesy and myself have always got something to say and whether or not the world needs to hear it we’re just glad to have the extra half hour to say it” says Charlie Pickering.

The strong ensemble of regulars including Jennifer Byrne, Kris Smith, John Hewson, Tom Gleeson, Steve Price, Tracey Curro, Steve Vizard, Waleed Aly, Meshel Laurie, Lehmo and Dr Chris Brown will continue to bring their insights and opinions to the desk.

George Negus will continue with the Network and his rich expertise and experience will be harnessed to provide guidance across the Network on news and current affairs.
Furthermore after nearly a year away, The Project is thrilled to welcome him back to the desk as a regular panellist.

David Mott, Chief Programming Officer, Network Ten says, “The move to expand The Project from a half hour format to the hour reflects our belief that this type of contemporary, informative, fast-paced, funny, yet relevant news offering is what best connects with our audience.”

“We’re incredibly proud of George and our 6.30 team, both in front of the cameras and behind the scenes. 6.30 has been a high quality, credible, and thought provoking news program for the network. The decision to discontinue 6.30 was a commercial one and in no way reflects on the quality of George, the program or the team. We are grateful to George for establishing and steering this bold experiment over the last 10 months.”

George Negus says, “Working on 6.30 has been incredibly fulfilling. From reporters to production crew, we have worked together to bring viewers a high quality, soil-breaking program and some of the year’s biggest stories and interviews. We are immensely proud of all we have achieved. The truth is that unfortunately a program like 6.30 was ahead of its time, but who knows about the future?

Though sadly 6.30 has come to an end, I’m looking forward to getting back with my mates at The Project. They’ve also broken new ground with their irreverent approach to what’s going on around us, it’s my kind of tongue-in-cheek program.”

With a new one hour timeslot, The Project now has more time to deliver the stories Australian’s want to see. Join Charlie, Carrie and Hughesy each weeknight for The Project, commencing Monday October 31 at 6.30pm on TEN.