December 8, 2022

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Viewers call for The Project to be axed after Lisa Wilkinson’s shock exit

The Project is often described as the most divisive show on television.

While it draws praise for its mix of news, opinion and entertainment, some viewers have accused the nightly panel program of leaning too far to the left.

Lisa Wilkinson’s announcement on Sunday she was leaving The Project effective immediately sparked fierce discussion on social media about what direction the show should take next year, with some even calling for it to be cancelled.

Some viewers have called for The Project to be axed after Lisa Wilkinson's shock exit - as rumours swirl Channel 10 is plotting a 'youthful rebrand' next year. (Pictured: Lisa Wilkinson, centre, with co-hosts Peter Helliar, left, and Waleed Aly, right)

Some viewers have called for The Project to be axed after Lisa Wilkinson's shock exit - as rumours swirl Channel 10 is plotting a 'youthful rebrand' next year. (Pictured: Lisa Wilkinson, centre, with co-hosts Peter Helliar, left, and Waleed Aly, right)

Some viewers have called for The Project to be axed after Lisa Wilkinson’s shock exit – as rumours swirl Channel 10 is plotting a ‘youthful rebrand’ next year. (Pictured: Lisa Wilkinson, centre, with co-hosts Peter Helliar, left, and Waleed Aly, right)

‘Cancel the whole show,’ one viewer wrote on Facebook, while another added: ‘Now if they could scrap the whole show, that would be fantastic.’

‘Now just scrap the entire show,’ a third person wrote, as a fourth chimed in: ‘I’m sure the Left will be upset. Now how do we get rid of the actual show?’

One particularly disgruntled viewer called for Waleed Aly, Kate Langbroek and Peter Helliar to follow Wilkinson out the door.

‘Yes, now Waleed needs to go. Kate and Peter as well,’ they sniped.

The Project is often described as the most divisive show on television. While it draws praise for its mix of news, opinion and entertainment, some viewers have accused the nightly panel program of leaning too far to the left. (Pictured from left to right: Tommy Little, Peter Helliar, Hamish Macdonald, Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly, Lisa Wilkinson and Gorgi Coghlan)

The Project is often described as the most divisive show on television. While it draws praise for its mix of news, opinion and entertainment, some viewers have accused the nightly panel program of leaning too far to the left. (Pictured from left to right: Tommy Little, Peter Helliar, Hamish Macdonald, Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly, Lisa Wilkinson and Gorgi Coghlan)

The Project is often described as the most divisive show on television. While it draws praise for its mix of news, opinion and entertainment, some viewers have accused the nightly panel program of leaning too far to the left. (Pictured from left to right: Tommy Little, Peter Helliar, Hamish Macdonald, Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly, Lisa Wilkinson and Gorgi Coghlan)

Wilkinson's announcement on Sunday she was leaving The Project has sparked fierce discussion on Facebook about what direction the show should take next year, with some even calling for it to be cancelled (pictured)

Wilkinson's announcement on Sunday she was leaving The Project has sparked fierce discussion on Facebook about what direction the show should take next year, with some even calling for it to be cancelled (pictured)

Wilkinson’s announcement on Sunday she was leaving The Project has sparked fierce discussion on Facebook about what direction the show should take next year, with some even calling for it to be cancelled (pictured)

Fortunately the comments weren’t all negative, with fans flocking to Wilkinson’s Instagram to thank her for making The Project a more ‘thoughtful’ program.

‘Sorry to see you go. You’ve always been one of the best in your field. Your honesty and enthusiasm to get to the truth has been outstanding and needed in this country,’ one supporter wrote.

‘We will definitely miss you on The Project. Thank you for all the great times and standing up for those who needed it.’

Another added: ‘I just wanted to wish you the best of luck, Lisa. You’ve been a wise and thoughtful host of The Project and the stories you’ve brought to us have been meaningful and important.’

A third wrote: ‘Lisa, you are such an inspiration to women, always keeping it real and classy. If I could be half the woman you are, I’d be very lucky.’

Fortunately the comments weren't all negative, with fans flocking to Wilkinson's Instagram to thank her for making The Project a more 'thoughtful' program (pictured)

Fortunately the comments weren't all negative, with fans flocking to Wilkinson's Instagram to thank her for making The Project a more 'thoughtful' program (pictured)

Fortunately the comments weren’t all negative, with fans flocking to Wilkinson’s Instagram to thank her for making The Project a more ‘thoughtful’ program (pictured)

Wilkinson announced she was quitting The Project at the end of Sunday night’s episode, leaving viewers stunned. 

‘I have decided it’s time to reprioritise a few things in my life,’ the TV veteran began alongside co-hosts Hamish Macdonald and Laura Byrne.

‘And after almost 15 years of the early alarm of breakfast TV, and now another five years here at The Project desk, I’m looking at how I want the coming years to play out both professionally and personally,’ she added.

Wilkinson, 62, announced she was quitting The Project at the end of Sunday night's episode

Wilkinson, 62, announced she was quitting The Project at the end of Sunday night's episode

Wilkinson, 62, announced she was quitting The Project at the end of Sunday night’s episode

‘So, from tonight, I am stepping back from hosting the show.

‘Sitting at this desk and working with this incredible team – both in front of and behind the camera – has been an absolute privilege.

‘These people are genuinely are some of the most talented and decent humans I know.

‘And you, our passionate, engaged audience, have been so kind in making me feel so welcome in your homes. I’ve had a ball, but for me, right now, it’s time for a change.’

Wilkinson went on to explain she was not leaving Channel 10 and was ‘looking at some exciting work ideas ahead’. 

'I have to be honest with you. The last six months have not been easy, and the relentless targeted toxicity in the media has taken a toll. Not just on me, but on people I love,' she said

'I have to be honest with you. The last six months have not been easy, and the relentless targeted toxicity in the media has taken a toll. Not just on me, but on people I love,' she said

‘I have to be honest with you. The last six months have not been easy, and the relentless targeted toxicity in the media has taken a toll. Not just on me, but on people I love,’ she said

‘But I have to be honest with you. The last six months have not been easy, and the relentless targeted toxicity in the media has taken a toll. Not just on me, but on people I love,’ Wilkinson said. 

‘Don’t get me wrong, I’m not above criticism, far from it. I’m human, and I don’t always get it right, none of us do, but by God I’ve tried. 

‘I’ve given this job everything I have, and I hope you at home know that. I hope I’ve brought you stories that matter and introduced you to people whose lives and experiences might have otherwise never been told, and helped bring into focus issues that deserve our collective attention. 

‘So to everyone who has been so incredibly supportive and reached out, particularly in recent months, thank you. You’ll never know how much it has meant to me.’

Wilkinson (right, with Hamish Macdonald) went on to explain that she was not leaving Channel 10 and was 'looking at some exciting work ideas ahead'

Wilkinson (right, with Hamish Macdonald) went on to explain that she was not leaving Channel 10 and was 'looking at some exciting work ideas ahead'

Wilkinson (right, with Hamish Macdonald) went on to explain that she was not leaving Channel 10 and was ‘looking at some exciting work ideas ahead’

Wilkinson concluded: ‘I especially want to thank [media executive] Peter Meakin here at The Project, the wise old owl of news and current affairs in this country, who has been such an unwavering and generous supporter and mentor of mine right across my time in TV, just as he has been for so many others.

‘And finally to Leigh Sales, Tracy Grimshaw, and Carrie Bickmore: if you guys are up for a drink, I’ll see you at the bar. The margaritas are on me.’

Macdonald praised Wilkinson for making the difficult decision to leave.

Macdonald praised Wilkinson for making the difficult decision to leave. 'I know being your colleague and friend for some years now, that this is the right decision for you and your family at this point in time,' he said

Macdonald praised Wilkinson for making the difficult decision to leave. 'I know being your colleague and friend for some years now, that this is the right decision for you and your family at this point in time,' he said

Macdonald praised Wilkinson for making the difficult decision to leave. ‘I know being your colleague and friend for some years now, that this is the right decision for you and your family at this point in time,’ he said

'There's been days this year, particularly in the last six months, where I think you've taught all of us a lesson here in what resolve and tenacity is,' he added while holding Wilkinson's hand

'There's been days this year, particularly in the last six months, where I think you've taught all of us a lesson here in what resolve and tenacity is,' he added while holding Wilkinson's hand

‘There’s been days this year, particularly in the last six months, where I think you’ve taught all of us a lesson here in what resolve and tenacity is,’ he added while holding Wilkinson’s hand  

‘I know being your colleague and friend for some years now, that this is the right decision for you and your family at this point in time,’ he said while holding Wilkinson’s hand.

‘There have been days this year, particularly in the last six months, where I think you’ve taught all of us a lesson here in what resolve and tenacity is. And you’ve turned up on camera even on days where, you know, it’s been tough.

‘So I understand how we have ended up here. I know everyone here is a bit shocked by this, and there are many colleagues that will want to send you off with their love.

The exit follows a controversial year for Wilkinson, during which she was taken off air after her disastrous Logies speech that resulted in a rape trial being delayed. (Pictured at the Logies)

The exit follows a controversial year for Wilkinson, during which she was taken off air after her disastrous Logies speech that resulted in a rape trial being delayed. (Pictured at the Logies)

The exit follows a controversial year for Wilkinson, during which she was taken off air after her disastrous Logies speech that resulted in a rape trial being delayed. (Pictured at the Logies)

‘They’re probably learning about this right now along with all of you at home and so I want to say from all of us here at The Project and at Ten, thank you very much because you have put all that you have into this. 

‘You work like a bloody horse. It’s unbelievable.’

Macdonald concluded with the promise that Wilkinson may return to The Project in the future.

‘Have a great long break, as long as you need. We’ll see you back here when you’re ready,’ he said.

Wilkinson's advocacy-tinged journalism landed her in hot water when she spoke of an upcoming court case while accepting an award at the Logies on June 19 (pictured)

Wilkinson's advocacy-tinged journalism landed her in hot water when she spoke of an upcoming court case while accepting an award at the Logies on June 19 (pictured)

Wilkinson’s advocacy-tinged journalism landed her in hot water when she spoke of an upcoming court case while accepting an award at the Logies on June 19 (pictured)

Wilkinson won a Logie for her sit-down interview with Brittany Higgins (right), in which the ex-Liberal staffer alleged she was raped by her colleague Bruce Lehrmann in a minister's office during 2019

Wilkinson won a Logie for her sit-down interview with Brittany Higgins (right), in which the ex-Liberal staffer alleged she was raped by her colleague Bruce Lehrmann in a minister's office during 2019

Wilkinson won a Logie for her sit-down interview with Brittany Higgins (right), in which the ex-Liberal staffer alleged she was raped by her colleague Bruce Lehrmann in a minister’s office during 2019

The exit follows a controversial year for Wilkinson, during which she was taken off air after her disastrous Logies speech that resulted in a rape trial being delayed.

Wilkinson won a Logie for her sit-down interview with Brittany Higgins, in which the ex-Liberal staffer alleged she was raped by her colleague Bruce Lehrmann in a minister’s office in 2019.

The original trial date was slated for June 27 but in the aftermath of Wilkinson’s acceptance speech, a judge delayed the high-profile case ruling it would be ‘unfair’ to continue among the public commentary surrounding the case. 

The trial was delayed until October as a result. 

Wilkinson made an unexpected return to the live panel in July (pictured with Rachel Corbett). Her return was a 'last-minute' decision, insiders told The Australian, leaving many industry figures blindsided as previous reports indicated she wouldn't be back on air until August

Wilkinson made an unexpected return to the live panel in July (pictured with Rachel Corbett). Her return was a 'last-minute' decision, insiders told The Australian, leaving many industry figures blindsided as previous reports indicated she wouldn't be back on air until August

Wilkinson made an unexpected return to the live panel in July (pictured with Rachel Corbett). Her return was a ‘last-minute’ decision, insiders told The Australian, leaving many industry figures blindsided as previous reports indicated she wouldn’t be back on air until August

While The Project star copped a wave of public scrutiny, Channel 10 stood by Wilkinson and called the criticism ‘inaccurate and unfair’, but she was nonetheless taken off the air and decamped to Hollywood to escape the backlash.

Wilkinson later resurfaced on Instagram on July 18 to reveal she was in Los Angeles, sharing a photo of herself outside The Hotel California in Palm Springs. 

During her absence from the live panel, she recorded interviews in California with the likes of Gloria Allred and Ryan Tedder for The Project.  

During her absence from the live panel, she recorded interviews in California with the likes of Gloria Allred and Ryan Tedder for The Project

During her absence from the live panel, she recorded interviews in California with the likes of Gloria Allred and Ryan Tedder for The Project

During her absence from the live panel, she recorded interviews in California with the likes of Gloria Allred and Ryan Tedder for The Project 

Wilkinson made an unexpected return to the live panel later in July, and was back to anchoring the Channel 10 show four nights a week. 

She reportedly ‘raced back’ to Australia so she could fill the hosting position.

Her return was a ‘last-minute’ decision, insiders told The Australian, leaving many industry figures blindsided as previous reports indicated she wouldn’t be back on air until August.

She reportedly 'raced back' to Australia so she could fill the hosting position, after decamping to Hollywood for several weeks

She reportedly 'raced back' to Australia so she could fill the hosting position, after decamping to Hollywood for several weeks

She reportedly ‘raced back’ to Australia so she could fill the hosting position, after decamping to Hollywood for several weeks 

Wilkinson joined The Project in 2018, following her departure from the Today show, after a reported salary dispute and ‘simmering tensions’ with former co-host Karl Stefanovic.

In November, The Daily Telegraph claimed Wilkinson was pocketing an enormous $1.7million per year on The Project.

It comes on the back of a difficult year for Channel 10’s current affairs panel show, which has now lost two of its biggest stars.

Wilkinson joined The Project in 2018, following her departure from the Today show, after a reported salary dispute and 'simmering tensions' with former co-host Karl Stefanovic (right)

Wilkinson joined The Project in 2018, following her departure from the Today show, after a reported salary dispute and 'simmering tensions' with former co-host Karl Stefanovic (right)

Wilkinson joined The Project in 2018, following her departure from the Today show, after a reported salary dispute and ‘simmering tensions’ with former co-host Karl Stefanovic (right) 

In November, The Daily Telegraph claimed Wilkinson was pocketing an enormous $1.7million per year on The Project

In November, The Daily Telegraph claimed Wilkinson was pocketing an enormous $1.7million per year on The Project

In November, The Daily Telegraph claimed Wilkinson was pocketing an enormous $1.7million per year on The Project 

In October, Wilkinson's co-star Carrie Bickmore (pictured) announced her departure from the current affairs show after 12 years

In October, Wilkinson's co-star Carrie Bickmore (pictured) announced her departure from the current affairs show after 12 years

In October, Wilkinson’s co-star Carrie Bickmore (pictured) announced her departure from the current affairs show after 12 years 

In October, Wilkinson’s co-star Carrie Bickmore announced her departure from The Project after 12 years on air. 

Bickmore had been absent for a three month ‘sabbatical’ with her family in London earlier this year, before returning to the panel in July, only to quit in October.  

She will leave Channel 10 altogether after she finishes up at the end of this month, making her next career move unclear.

The Project is getting a ‘youth rebrand’ with a roster of younger presenters as TV insider predicts ‘more resignations to come’ after Lisa Wilkinson’s exit

By Jimmy Briggs for Daily Mail Australia

Embattled panel show The Project will soon undergo a ‘youth rebrand’ with a focus on younger presenters, a leading TV expert has claimed.

Entertainment reporter Peter Ford says producers want to move in a ‘younger and hipper’ direction after co-hosts Lisa Wilkinson and Carrie Bickmore both quit.

‘They realised they had to make some significant changes before going into another year,’ he revealed on 3AW’s Breakfast with Ross and Russel.

Embattled panel show The Project will soon undergo a 'youth rebrand' with a focus on younger presenters, a leading TV expert has claimed. (Pictured: Sunday's panel on The Project before Lisa Wilkinson announced her resignation)

Embattled panel show The Project will soon undergo a 'youth rebrand' with a focus on younger presenters, a leading TV expert has claimed. (Pictured: Sunday's panel on The Project before Lisa Wilkinson announced her resignation)

Embattled panel show The Project will soon undergo a ‘youth rebrand’ with a focus on younger presenters, a leading TV expert has claimed. (Pictured: Sunday’s panel on The Project before Lisa Wilkinson announced her resignation)

Ford predicts that several more presenters will quit by the end of the year, only to be replaced by younger talent in 2023.

He said The Project, in its current state, draws an ‘immediate negative reaction’ from viewers, which needs to change for the show to grow its ratings.

Ford revealed the showrunners are planning a significant rebrand for next year to ensure the program appeals to a wider audience. 

Entertainment reporter Peter Ford (pictured) says producers want to move in a 'younger and hipper' direction after co-hosts Lisa Wilkinson and Carrie Bickmore both quit

Entertainment reporter Peter Ford (pictured) says producers want to move in a 'younger and hipper' direction after co-hosts Lisa Wilkinson and Carrie Bickmore both quit

Entertainment reporter Peter Ford (pictured) says producers want to move in a ‘younger and hipper’ direction after co-hosts Lisa Wilkinson and Carrie Bickmore both quit 

The left-leaning news program has been rocked by two high-profile exits in recent weeks: Lisa Wilkinson announced last night she was quitting effective immediately, and long-time anchor Carrie Bickmore confirmed her departure a month ago.

‘How coincidental so many people all decide at same time they “need a change”,’ tweeted Ford, the showbiz correspondent for The Morning Show and 3AW Breakfast.

Ford promised to tell all about Wilkinson’s exit and ‘who is going next’, as well as the story behind Channel 10’s ‘last-ditch attempt to rebrand the show’, on Monday.

Carrie Bickmore (pictured) announced her resignation on air last month

Carrie Bickmore (pictured) announced her resignation on air last month

Carrie Bickmore (pictured) announced her resignation on air last month

He later fired off a snarky tweet accusing Wilkinson of ‘making herself a victim’ with her resignation speech, in which she accused the media of ‘targeted toxicity’ and spoke of how the last ‘six months have not been easy’.

‘All the hard work she’s put in etc. for four nights a week and 20 grand a week. That poor lady!’ he added.

He did not specify who would be next out the door, but The Project has a roster of regular hosts including comedian Tommy Little, former Q&A presenter Hamish Macdonald and long-time co-anchor Waleed Aly.

Aly is unlikely to leave, however, after signing a ‘seven-figure, multi-year deal’ with Channel 10 in March, according to The Australian.

Ford predicts other Project presenters will soon resign but wouldn't say who. Waleed Aly (pictured) is unlikely to be one of them as he recently signed a multi-year deal with Channel 10

Ford predicts other Project presenters will soon resign but wouldn't say who. Waleed Aly (pictured) is unlikely to be one of them as he recently signed a multi-year deal with Channel 10

Ford predicts other Project presenters will soon resign but wouldn’t say who. Waleed Aly (pictured) is unlikely to be one of them as he recently signed a multi-year deal with Channel 10

Source: | Dailymail.co.uk