The Project’s star new host is ‘struggling’ with the gruelling weekly commute from Sydney to Melbourne as the talk show’s revamped line up fails to fire.
Insiders at Channel 10 have told Daily Mail Australia the ‘novelty’ of travelling to Melbourne where The Project is taped from Sunday to Thursday is ‘wearing off a bit’ for Sarah Harris, a single mum with two young kids.
The popular Studio 10 host joined the prime-time panel after the shock departures of talk show regulars Carrie Bickmore, Pete Helliar and Lisa Wilkinson at the end of 2022.
But the new line up, including ex-ABC sports presenter Georgie Tunny and former Triple J announcer Michael Hing alongside long-serving anchor Waleed Aly, is off to a rocky start.
Sarah Harris – who departed Studio 10 to join The Project – commutes from Sydney to Melbourne to tape the left-leaning current affairs show
Chris Brown’s (with Seven boss James Warburton) defection to a rival network follows the shock departures of Carrie Bickmore, Pete Helliar and Lisa Wilkinson.
Last week The Project was beaten by Channel 10’s 5pm news bulletin four nights in a row.
The dismal start for the left-leaning current affairs show has added to internal unrest at Channel 10 after a horror year of falling market share and this week’s shock defection of Chris Brown to Channel Seven.
There is also speculation his I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here co-host Julia Morris will follow him out the door.
Sydney Pyrmont headquarters are abuzz with talk that Sarah’s time away from her sons Paul, 6, and Harry, 4, is ‘taking its toll’.
‘The novelty is wearing off a bit,’ said a Pyrmont veteran who asked not to be named.
Harris, who separated from husband Tom Ward in 2021, is believed to have recently re-signed a new, long-term contract with Ten.
She has been contacted for comment.
Harris (seen on Studio 10) is believed to be contracted long term to Ten
And then there were none. Chris Brown the last of The Project regulars to depart, following Pete Helliar, Lisa Wilkinson and Rachel Corbett.
The Project sank to a five-city metro viewership of just 238,000 on Wednesday night – barely scraping into the top 20 free-to-air shows of the day.
In fact Ten failed to crack the top 10 at all, with its much-hyped prime time offering Australian Survivor pulling in just 369,000 to come in at number 13.
In comparison, Nine’s Married At First Sight is pulling in a daily average of around 790,000.
Ten staffers are now asking whether a shakeup in management is needed to turn things around .
Squarely in the line of fire is Ten’s chief content boss and Paramount Australia and New Zealand executive vice president Beverley McGarvey who has overseen Ten’s slump from the nation’s third most-watched network to number four (behind the ABC).
‘At what point is something done at the top,’ one Ten insider told Daily Mail Australia, adding that the network’s decision to pull the pin on The Living Room – one of Brown’s star vehicle’s – upset a number of network’s on-air stable.
The Living Room, which also starred Barry Dubois, Miguel Maestre and Amanda Keller, was unceremoniously axed last November after 11 years on air – a move which left its on-air team flummoxed.
Ten’s decision to pull the pin on The Living Room – one of Brown’s star vehicle’s – ‘irked’ a big chunk of the network’s entire on-air stable
Keller has admitted she was ‘disappointed’ in Ten’s decision to shelve The Living Room
At the time Keller expressed her disappointment, saying she would ‘hope and pray and assume” that the show would return to the air in 2024.
This week she confirmed Brown likely walked in wake of The Living Room’s axing, saying the decision to ditch the show was a ‘risk’.
“I said at the time, this is the risk you take as a network. None of us are on contracts, they haven’t rested the show and retained us on contract,” Keller said today on WSFM’s Jonesy & Amanda.
Not surprisingly Brown’s exit has sparked talk that even more are set to follow, with Morris – his I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here co-host – rumoured to currently be in talks with Seven.
Brown’s exit has sparked talk that Julia Morris – his I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here co-host – is also in talks with Seven.
Ten’s chief content boss and Paramount Australia and New Zealand executive vice president Beverley McGarvey
It’s understood Morris remains under contract with Ten until after I’m A Celebrity airs in July.
Morris’s management has been contacted for comment.
Ten this week released a statement this week regarding Brown’s shock departure:
‘Chris Brown has provided Australians with warmth and compassion as the resident vet on Bondi Vet, treating animals large and small.
‘He has served up a multitude of uplifting, inspiring and hilarious stories with Amanda, Barry and Miguel on The Living Room couch and Chris, along with Julia Morris is contracted to the upcoming season of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! which will be back on screens and back in the South African jungle in April.’