Which New Zealand television heroes should definitely host The Project?

Who will host 7pm current affairs show The Project when it comes to TV3 next year? Tara Ward makes some very early, very plausible predictions. 

All my dreams came true in one press release when Mediaworks announced the launch of current affairs panel show The Project. Scheduled in the troublesome 7.00pm timeslot, Mediaworks promises The Project will be “news delivered differently” and will expore the issues “that resonate with New Zealanders”.

Such exciting words made my tiny brain do rolly-pollies, because when it comes to current affairs I am always ready to be resonated with, especially in a different way than ever before.

The news is generally a bewildering cesspit of misery and misfortune, with cute stories about how ‘the peach emoji is a bum’ chucked in for good measure. So it’s hard to think of ‘different’ ways for this weeping sore of humanity to be presented to viewers, five nights every week. Interpretive dance? Charades? Mike McRoberts driving up and down the street in a Mr Whippy van, reading the headlines over the loud speaker?


Sadly my imagination isn’t as vivid as that of the bigwigs at Mediaworks, who in seeking a point of difference decided to clone a show that already exists. It turns out The Project is an Australian current affairs success story, and has been delivering the news differently for years. Now we get to do it in exactly the same way! It’s bloody genius.


So what exactly is The Project? Why, I’m glad you asked. It’s a show that spreads itself like melted vegemite over a chewy mix of news and entertainment. Hosts Carrie Bickmore, Waleed Aly and Peter Helliar are joined by guest panelists to discuss and analyse the news of the day, which can swing from domestic politics to taxidermy to Qantas’ staff ban on handlebar moustaches.

It’s often funny, it’s always informative, and best of all, there’s not a Chewbacca mask in sight.


Mediaworks reckon they’re still choosing the Kiwi hosts, but based on the Aussie Project, the official job description seems fairly straight forward. Hosts should be comfortable around famous people, give good ‘serious face’, enjoy sitting on a swivel chair, and play well with others. I suppose a background in media or journalism would be handy too.

So with those relevant skills in mind, I scoured the cold and grimy depths of the New Zealand media landscape to gather together a shortlist of possible candidates. Put on your best serious face, read ‘em, and weep.

Guy Williams

No stranger to the 7pm timeslot, Guy’s political science degree and comedy background mean he’s the pea in The Project’s pod. Some might think he’s a fool, but steady on, the man once released a charity single about a pigeon. Woop woo, indeed.


Hayley Holt

Hayley Holt shuts down Mark Richardson’s middle-aged rants on The Crowd Goes Wild, she sorted out our dozy politicians in Back Benches, she even won Treasure Island: Pirates of the Pacific. Another spooky fact: CGW co-star Andrew Mulligan looks just like Peter Helliar, which means it’s probably fate. Or coincidence, not sure.


Astar from Good Morning

Surely Astar’s been waiting for The Project ever since Good Morning tragically collapsed into the murky waters of New Zealand television history, much like her own performance of a dying swan. Astar would 100% deliver the news differently, probably in the form of expressive dance or a handmade pom-pom chicken. That resonates with me, Astar, consider the job yours.


Leanne from Shortland Street

Leanne hates Millennials, makes inappropriate comments, and asks the awkward questions everyone else is too sensible to say out loud. She’s practically the female version of Paul Henry. YOLO, Leanne.


Mike Puru

Poor Mike’s still reeling from his shock dumping as host of The Bachelor NZ. On the plus side, he now has an opening for a regular evening gig — but please, show Our Mike some kindness and let him partake in the catering.


Louise Wallace

Equal parts terrifying and hilarious, Louise would relish asking the tough questions on The Project. Her perceptive probing on Real Housewives of Auckland bought out Angela Stone’s inner marshmallow, so who knows what effect she’d have on the likes of Gerry Brownlee or Steve Hansen?


So there you have it: the unequivocally unofficial list of hosts for The Project. Seems fine. Prepare to be resonated with, New Zealand — and if The Project fails in its lofty goal to deliver news differently, there’s always the delicious option of Mike McRoberts driving an icecream van.

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