Television big name Peter Helliar has quit Network 10’s current affairs program The Project after eight years at the desk.
The 47-year-old comedian is now the third key presenter from the show who has announced his resignation, following Lisa Wilkison who broke the news of her exit two days ago and Carrie Bickmore who announced her departure in October.
Helliar dropped the bombshell news on Tuesday, November 22, saying that he wanted to focus on his writing and comedy career. His last episode will be on December 7.
After nearly 8 years at the desk, Peter Helliar will be leaving The Project. Here is the moment he made the announcement. pic.twitter.com/k1i19lWcM5
— The Project (@theprojecttv) November 22, 2022
“All these things come in threes and it’s time for me to say bye,” he said at the end of the show.
“It’s something that’s been on my mind for some time … People will read into this situation however they want to read into it, but I need to create some space for some projects that I want to work on.
“You’ve seen me juggle over the years, but I feel like there are new areas I want to go into next year that I need to be present for. I still love this show, it’s done amazing things for me, and I look forward to seeing what the show is in the future.”
And indeed, people are reading into the situation, with many viewers of the show taking to social media to express their confusion and speculate why there is an extraordinary exodus of presenters.
Why is everyone leaving the Project. It’s Waleed isn’t it.
— Felon Mask (@MoarToast) November 21, 2022
Lisa Wilkinson quit, Peter Helliar quit, please let this be the end of the Project and Waleed from our screens.
— Christie (@chrismsia) November 22, 2022
OMG Peter Helliar has just quit the project now that might get Wilkinson out of the headlines. Good riddance to the lot of them. I think the way they are announcing this could be that they are being sacked by Ten.
— JHD Macdonnell (@jhd_ankh0) November 22, 2022
Yet another departure from The Project, with Peter Helliar the latest presenter to announce he’s quitting – final show on December 7.
Surely there has to be something happening behind the scenes us mere mortals are currently unaware of, but will find out about in due course? ????
— SydneyCityTV (@SydneyCityTV) November 22, 2022
While Helliar still has two more weeks on The Project, his long-running co-host Bickmore will wrap up her final show on Wednesday, December 30, meanwhile, Wilkinson’s departure was “effective immediately” following Sunday evening’s broadcast.
During her closing remarks, Wilkinson cited “targeted toxicity” from areas of the media as the reason for her departure.
“I have decided that it’s time to reprioritise a few things in my life. I’m looking at how I want the coming years to play out, both professionally and personally. And so from tonight, I’m stepping back from hosting the show,” she said on the program.
“The last six months have not been easy. And the relentless, targeted toxicity by some sections of the media has taken a toll not just on me but on the people I love.
“Don’t 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’ve tried. I’ve given this job everything I have.”
What’s next for Wilkinson in regard to her career remains a mystery, but she has reassured viewers that she and Network 10 are “looking at some very exciting work ideas ahead”.