Comedian Charlie Pickering is to step down from Ten’s The Project just three months shy of the program’s five year anniversary.
Pickering announced yesterday that his last show as co-host on The Project alongside Carrie Bickmore and Peter Helliar will be on April 7.
A Ten spokesperson told B&T that the network is “not looking for a new Charlie”.
“Carrie and Pete will lead the show. We’ve got very good regular panellists on The Project. We will be expanding their roles and looking for one or two new contributors.”
Pickering is leaving The Project but is not likely to disappear from Ten altogether with Peter Meakin, executive director of news and current affairs, hinting at another concept starring the comedian.
“We have already discussed another concept which would showcase his considerable talents but it’s very early days yet,” Meakin said.
Pickering has been on the program since launch co-hosting the program with Bickmore and Dave Hughes, who left the show in December last year.
In a statement Pickering said his time on The Project “has been an incredible ride”.
“As a stand-up comedian I have never planned to do one thing for five years, let alone five days a week. At the end of last year it was clear to me that I needed to find new challenges,” he said.
“I’m very thankful to Ten for all they have done for me. From casting me as a team captain on Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation to believing that I could anchor a show like The Project, their support has been invaluable. I hope it is a relationship that will continue into the future.”
Pickering said he and his partner Sarah are expecting their first child later this year and plan to use his new-found free time to take a trip overseas.
Meakin said: “As a network, we owe Charlie a big debt of gratitude. He has been an essential part of The Project for five years.”
Craig Campbell, executive producer, Roving Enterprises, added: “Since Charlie joined The Project we have watched him grow from a stand-up comedian to an accomplished broadcaster. His talent and skills have enabled us to develop a formidable format that we are incredibly proud of.
“I look forward to his return from the States and hope we will see him back on The Project sometime soon.”
For more on the ratings ups and downs of The Project see The Sydney Morning Herald's report here.