Why we need original shows like The Project
Emotions ran high when The Project celebrated its 10th birthday last Friday.
There were laughs, tears and heartfelt speeches during the special two-hour show, which broadcast from a special studio in Melbourne's South Bank, with a large audience of special guests mingling and adding to the celebratory atmosphere.
Its hosts have made no secret of the fact the award-winning current affairs show would not be on the air a decade later without the support of the network.
"I was only meant to be the news girl,” original anchor Carrie Bickmore said of the show's first few months.
It was a rocky start, with reporters James Mathison and Ruby Rose quickly dumped in favour of the chemistry between Bickmore, Charlie Pickering and Dave Hughes.
Pickering and Hughes have long since moved on, making way for Gold Logie winner Waleed Aly and funny man Peter Helliar, but it's testament to the tight-knit bond of the show's stars and crew that everyone significantly involved in The Project over the years, aside from Rose, was in attendance in some form.
From Dr Chris Brown to Magda Szubanski and Kitty Flanagan, as well as Pickering and George Negus conferencing in from overseas, it really felt like an extended family reunion.
A lengthy blooper reel provided some of the funniest moments and footage of Samuel Johnson's late sister Connie brought many in the crowd to tears.
After the official broadcast wrapped up, Ten's chief content officer Beverley McGarvey and executive producer Craig Campbell recalled his unique pitch for The Project 11 years ago.
Using singer Britney Spears' famous meltdown when she shaved her head as an example, Campbell re-framed the celebrity fodder as a mental health story.
Even if he didn't have all the details ironed out, Campbell's vision for an original Australian format was clear enough and it has carried on through the show's evolution over the past decade.
"We made Australia feel something,” he said. "It is a gift to make something that matters every f------ night.”