Sarah Harris joins The Project after Peter Helliar, Lisa Wilkinson and Carrie Bickmore quit | Australian television

Ten’s Sarah Harris will join Waleed Aly as co-presenter of The Project next year following the recent exodus of three of the programme’s presenters.

While the departure has been framed as a personal choice, sources say declining ratings and revenues at the main news program could be the reason for the departure of three well-paid presenters within weeks.

Founder and host Carrie Bickmore is leaving this month, and both journalist Lisa Wilkinson and comedian Peter Helliar announced this week that they won’t be back in 2023.

Announcing his departure, Helliar said on Tuesday’s show, “People will read this situation however they want to read it, but I need to create some space for some projects I want to work on.”

Wilkinson cited the toll of “targeted toxicity” from sections of the media she has been subjected to before her departure.

“The past six months have not been easy,” Wilkinson told viewers of the Channel Ten panel show on Sunday evening. “And the relentless, targeted toxicity by some sections of the media has taken its toll not only on me, but on people I love.

“Do not get me wrong. I’m not above criticism. Far from it. I’m human and I don’t always get it right. None of us do. But by God, I tried. I have given this job everything I have.”

Industry sources said it was highly unusual for a panel show’s main hosts to all leave at the same time.

That leaves Aly, Hamish Macdonald of the ABC and relative newcomer Georgie Tunny as regulars.

The project’s executive producer Chris Bendall said Wednesday that the changes will “re-energize” the show for 2023.

Harris said she was delighted to take part in one of Australia’s most agenda-setting shows.

“The Project brings news like no other program in Australia and it’s just the kind of fun and fearless TV I love to make,” said Harris, the host of morning ad show Studio 10.

Co-host Aly said Harris was smart, warm and funny.

“That’s the trifecta for The Project,” he said.

Bendall said Harris’ intelligence, insight and sense of humor make her the perfect host for The Project.

“The Project’s unique mix of news and entertainment is its strength and with Sarah sitting on the desk next to Waleed, we will continue to deliver the show that viewers have come to know and trust,” he said.

Macdonald will be an on-the-road reporter for the show and will also appear on the desk on Fridays and Sundays.

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