After seven years on air, Three’s 7pm weekday show The Project will sign off for the last time tonight.
News broke in October the show was being axed by Warner Bros. Discovery, impacting about 24 staff.
“We have commenced consultation to discontinue The Project on Three from the end of the year - our primary focus is to support our people as we work through this process,” a Warner Bros Discovery spokesperson said at the time.
The show - which first hit Kiwi screens in February 2017 - is filmed in front of a live studio audience in a building near Three’s main HQ in Auckland and is based on an Australian franchise of the same name.
As main hosts Jesse Mulligan, Kanoa Lloyd and Jeremy Corbett prepare for their final show, tributes from many of the roving hosts have started to be shared on social media.
Nadine Higgins led the way, posting a video montage on her Instagram from moments over the years including on-air snippets and snaps from behind the scenes with Mulligan, Lloyd, Josh Thomson, Justine Smith and Jaquie Brown.
The award-winning journalist and broadcaster wrote a lengthy caption alongside her touching video, admitting it’s “So bloody sad to see The Project end tomorrow.
“I’ve been so lucky to get to be a part of the show and hang out with its crazily talented team for the past 7 years. Walking into that studio is like meeting up with old friends. It is always a laugh a minute - on and off air - but despite the humour, I love that they have never shied away from the tough stuff.
She signed off adding, “Massive respect for what they’ve done, night after night, and the grace they’re ending with. Looking forward to giving them all a wonderful send off tomorrow.”
It earned a reply from Lloyd who commented, “What a ride! Thanks for everything x” as well as plenty of fans who expressed their sadness that the show is ending including one who wrote, “Totally agree. I’m gutted as I enjoy watching The Project so much.”
Higgins’ tribute is one of many that has hit social media since the announcement the show will be discontinued. Following the news, revolving host and comedian, Brown posted to her Instagram account admitting it was the “best job with the best people”.
“I look forward to seeing what they all do next because when you’re as funny, smart and empathetic as Kanoa, Jesse & Jeremy* - you can’t keep them down for long,” she said alongside a carousel of photos with the hosts.
Elsewhere, the AM Show paid tribute to their colleagues one day after Herald editor-at-large Shayne Currie broke the news.
Three is understood to pay a hefty international licensing fee for the use of The Project brand. Currie reported the move would give Three a blank canvas to build a less expensive primetime show.
Opening their October 27 show, host Melissa Chan-Green kicked things off with a message to her colleagues at the broadcaster: “We just want to start with something a little from the heart this morning,” she said with her co-host Ryan Bridge beside her nodding.
“You may have seen the news about The Project and we just want to acknowledge this morning our colleagues there because they’re our friends too,” she said adding, “We want to send them all our support and all our love as they go through quite a challenging time.”
Bridge added: “We work really closely with our colleagues here at Three and we love them very much,” adding, “We’re thinking of them at the moment and just sending them all of our best wishes for today and for the future.”
The Project hosts themselves - including Llyod and Mulligan - also shared their thoughts on the discontinuation on October 27 during the show. Lloyd thanked all of their viewers who have tuned in since the show started nearly seven years ago.
“Now the plan is to bring everyone awesome shows until we end,” she said.
Meanwhile, Corbett joked that he has been a part of many shows that had been discontinued, “This will soon just be another corpse on Corbett highway,” he said.
Earlier in the day, they broke their silence confessing it had been an emotional 24 hours.
“We’ve teared up reading messages from our beautiful audience and those who have contributed to the show.
“It’s nice to feel like we’re going out with love and support from a great big whānau.”
The hosts also reflected on the show’s seven-year run, “We’ve had an incredibly good innings and we’re so proud of everything our team has accomplished over seven years,” they said.