NO ONE knows The Project's unlikely success story better than Carrie Bickmore.
The mother-of-two has been behind the desk since the beginning, long before she took home the Gold Logie, when it was a half-hour news show called The 7pm Project.
"We did take a while to find the perfect groove, which was good in a way because it gave us a chance to see what worked " Carrie tells The Guide.
"To stick with whatever went to air with on the first day for the next eight years would have been stupid.
"If you're going to try something new and out of the box you almost have to go in going 'We know this is not going to work straight away'. Nothing that's new and different resonates with people straight away."
Peter Helliar, who replaced Dave Hughes as the panel's resident funny man in 2014, says Channel 10 has been 'heroically loyal' to the show, which now has six Logies including another coveted Gold Logie for co-host Waleed Aly.
"The fact that Channel 10 kept it on air has almost become industry folklore," he says. "On any other network I don't think the show would have survived that first year."
Nearly eight years since the experimental panel show debuted on our screens, The Project will celebrate its 2000th episode on Wednesday.
"It's gone so quickly; that's almost a quarter of my life," Carrie says.
"My son Olly was almost 2 (when it started); now he's 9 and a half."
Operating under the motto 'news delivered differently', the show's hosts takes pride in giving a voice to the stories that don't make the more traditional evening news bulletins.
"I've done quite a few stories on families (doing it tough) and it's those stories that stick with me for a long time afterwards," Carrie says.
"Those families will email me afterwards to say 'We've been overwhelmed with support'. Those are the moments that remind me why we have such a special job and how we can really change people's lives with what we do."
Viewers have also followed and supported Carrie through the highs and lows of life, from her late husband's battle with brain cancer to the birth of her second child Evie.
"The shows where I announced my pregnancy and the first show after I won the Gold Logie will be the ones I really remember," she says.
What's next after the 2000th episode celebrations? If it's up to Carrie she, Peter and Waleed will get out of the studio more often.
"We took the whole show to Adelaide last year and it was such a great success... I'd like to do some more things like that."
The Project airs week nights at 6.30pm on Channel 10.
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