It launched with huge fanfare, with its hosts literally singing and dancing their way onto our screens. But Three's new venture The Project has taken a major hit in the ratings since launching last Monday.

Last night's episode saw 100,000 viewers (aged 5+) watched the show, down 82,000 from its launch episode.

More concerningly for the broadcaster, ratings in its key commercial demographic (25-54) have fallen from 74,000 to just 36,000. A decrease of 51 per cent in just one week.

Friday night's ratings were little better, with 39,000 viewers aged 25-54 watching, despite featuring an exclusive reveal, introducing the nation to its new Bachelor.


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By comparison, 88,000 viewers tuned into Mike Hosking and Toni Street on Seven Sharp.

In a statement, MediaWorks said: "No question last night's numbers were down a little - not a cause for panic when Seven Sharp are down 27.5% since the week before The Project launched and across The Project's first week, it reached 444,900 versus Seven Sharp's 390,700 (25-54)*."

The numbers are significantly fewer than Campbell Live was rating when Mediaworks decided to cancel the programme in 2015. Even at its lowest point, Campbell Live still regularly attracted more than 80,000 viewers aged 25-54.

Last week, Campbell Live producer Pip Keane criticised the new programme for "plagiarising" Campbell Live content, playing clips from the show's original earthquake coverage.

Mediaworks is standing by the programme - for now - with a spokesperson saying: "We are delighted with The Project's performance so far."

Across the week, The Project averaged 61,000 viewers aged 25-54, compared to Seven Sharp's 81,000, with a spokesperson for TVNZ saying: "We're very encouraged by the continued strength of Seven Sharp."

*Reach measures how many people have watched one minute of a programme.