Channel 10 will today announce that The Project will not only move to 6pm for it’s Monday to Friday hour long show, but will add in a 6pm 30 minute show from Sunday 22 January (their previously crowned “Super Sunday”). This signals a significant change in Ten’s News strategy (again), shifting their 5pm News bulletin back to a hour locally produced bulletin on weeknights and an hour long national bulletin on the weekend.

The 6pm half hour has been troublesome for the network since the start of 2011 with the introduction of 6pm with George Negus, and the network are yet to find a program to run against the News services from Ch7 & Ch9 – two of the consistently highest rating programs across the year. Where Negus struggled Ten seem to hope their current “go-to” show will make a dent and establish itself in this new timeslot.

The move to 6pm protects The Project from the 7pm stripped reality plans of Channel 9 that battered the ratings of Ch10’s light-hearted current affairs program in late 2011, and allows Ten to alter the delivery of it’s reality and other programming to run against Ch9’s planned assault.

It’s the boldest move yet from the network’s new leadership team, and one new CEO James Warburton will not have made lightly. Strange the change has been made now instead of for the start of the year, though seeing as 2012 ratings don’t officially start for another 5 weeks anything can change in the “off season” – though everyone is still paying attention anyway nowadays. If Ch10 give the newly timeslotted The Project the support they gave it when it first premiered, this could work very quickly to Ten’s advantage.