What the cast of The Project looked like on the show’s very first night.

Video via Channel 10

Cast your mind back to a simpler time. One before The Bachelor Australia and even before Offspring. When Ruby Rose was a little-known music reporter and Channel 10 announced they had a new vision for news.

In 2009, the network launched The 7pm Project, which promised to dissect the day’s biggest stories with humour, heart and brains, and did just that every night of the week.

After eight years and a tweak to its name, The Project is more popular than ever and tonight celebrated its 2000th episode.

There were bloopers, Steve Price stripped to his birthday suit, and we got to take a look back at where it all began, as the crew shared their fondest on-air moment.

Remember these tiny babies? Source: Channel 10

When the show launched it was co-hosted by comedians Charlie Pickering and Dave Hughes, and Carrie Bickmore who — along with her current co-host Waleed Aly — has since picked up a Gold Logie for her marathon effort.

What you might not remember is roving reporters Ruby Rose and James Mathison, who back in the day covered the music, and media and sports beats, respectively.

"Before the first episode I remember wondering if my body would automatically tell me to keep breathing because I was so stressed out that I thought that I might actually have a panic attack or a heart attack live on air," Bickmore told news.com.au today.

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Listen: Carrie Bickmore tells us how she juggles work and family life. (Post continues after podcast.)

"I honestly don’t remember anything about the first episode. I couldn’t tell you what topics we talked about or any details.

"The only thing I remember is when the show ended, breathing out and hearing Dave Hughes say, ‘Well, I think I just ended my career’. I remember thinking, ‘S**t, if Dave Hughes is saying that, then what hope have I got?’"

For his part, Hughes told news.com.au he was "terrified" about doing "serious news with jokes slammed right in the middle of it".

Even so he insisted on a live studio audience, which the producers forgot to organise in time for the first episode, as he recalled:

"I was sitting there yelling, ‘where’s the f**king audience?’Charlie was telling me to calm down but literally 15 seconds before we went live I was still yelling, ‘Where’s the f**king audience?’

"They had to run people up from other floors in the building ... I think there were a few cleaners dragged in."

Despite a few mishaps along the way, The Project has gone from strength to strength.

Along with the nightly news, it's delivered numerous powerful political smackdowns, some of which have been shared millions of times around the world.

"All of us here in The Project office are proud of what we get to be a part of, making a TV show each day that we think helps make the world just a slightly better place," the Channel 10 team wrote on the website today.

"Here’s hoping for another 2000!"

Fingers crossed.

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