Charlie Pickering just announced he’s leaving The Project after five years as the show’s original smart funny-man. He’ll be a father later in the year and he’s chasing some other professional adventures.
Network Ten execs are left reeling after the news, having just lost Dave Hughes from the panel too. Carrie Bickmore and Pete Hellier are the ones left standing – or more accurately, sitting – at the news desk.
Charlie‘s last show will be on 7th April. Which gives us just enough time to find someone new for the job.
Time to play: Who Wants To Be A Charlie Pickering Replacement?
Look, some people have their fantasy football games, others like to mentally compile all their favourite politicians into a fantasy cabinet. We in the media like to speculate wildly, but wisely, about who will pop up in a vacant hosting seat next.
They’re big shoes to fill – Charlie’s got that inimitable mix of cleverness and silliness that anchors the team.
Here are our top seven contenders to fill the massive shoes:
1. Waleed Aly.
Waleed already regularly fills in for Charlie Pickerz, so he knows the panel’s dynamic and fits in neatly. As a brilliant columnist, whip-smart journalist, and man of great integrity, he’d be the easiest and most obvious choice. If he could bring his amazing wife, Susan Carland, on set as often as possible, he gets bonus points from us.
2. James Matheson.
James is hanging out at Manly beach in the rudely early hours of the morning to host Wake Up, so he’s already on the right channel. He’s a smart guy with a keen social conscience, a cheeky manner. If this was an AstroBoy Lookalike Competition, he’d already win.
3. Sarah Harris
Sarah was poached from Channel Nine to host The Studio on Ten with Ita Buttrose, Jess Rowe and Joe Hildebrand. She’s one of the greatest journalists in the country, not to mention gorgeous and charming. We predict TV execs might rule her out because she’s a blonde woman like Carrie Bickmore, but we can still hope.
4. Chrissie Swan.
Chrissie’s a regular on The Project, hosted Can of Worms on Ten, and generally gets about being incredibly funny and likeable. She’s experienced and awesome.
5. Joe Hildebrand.
The man everyone loves to hate, Joe Hildebrand, is on the panel of Studio Ten as well, which means he’s already hanging around the Network Ten Headquarters.
6. Osher Gunsberg.
Osher (The Artist Formerly Known As Andrew G) has sauntered back into our television lives by hosting The Bachelor on Ten. He’s got the suave capability, the profile, and extremely buoyant hair.
7. Andrew Rochford.
Dr Rochford’s always on The Project. He brings a lovely authority and charm, he knows the ropes, and it’d be an easy decision for the producers of the show.
We’ve had our fun speculating on a Charlie Pickering replacement. Tell us what you think. Who would you want to see behind that desk, sitting between Peter Hellier and Carrie Bickmore?