The Project panel looked very different tonight and viewers were loving it.

A familiar, yet not often seen face made an appearance on The Project Wednesday night – and fans were loving it.

Viewers got a pleasant surprise when none other than Rove McManus, who also happens to be the man behind the show’s production, stepped in for regular host Waleed Aly at the desk.

The experienced TV host joined old friend Pete Helliar as well as Gorgi Coghlan, who filled in for Carrie Bickmore, and Studio Ten presenter, Joe Hildebrand.

Fan feedback was overwhelmingly positive on social media, with viewers praising the choice of stand-in for Waleed.

“Great to have Rove back. After all, it is his show,” wrote one fan on Facebook.

“Love Rove, please stay,” commented another.

Many were happy to see Pete and Rove together again as a throwback to the early 2000s when the 43-year-old hosted Rove Live and was joined by his comedian friend each night. It was only a bit of a pity Carrie – who read satirical news headlines on the show – couldn’t be there for a complete reunion.

“Great seeing Rove and Pete together again. Very funny!” shared one viewer.

“Fantastic to see Rove back behind the desk! Pete & Rove do fun news better than ever,” wrote another.

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A few fans even requested the stand-in additions be made permanent.

“Loving tonight’s show please keep this panel on! Great panel.”

“I love Rove, I say keep him on always!”

“Love love love seeing Rove back on the project. I might start watching more now. It’s great to watch without political agendas. I love Carrie’s replacement also.”

It is nice to see the man that started it all back on our screens from time to time.

Who’s your favourite host on The Project?