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The Project speculation soars as Tommy Little and Steve Price left off announcement

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The Project’s major shake-up has continued today with the announcement Sarah Harris is taking over from Carrie Bickmore.

But industry figures predict there are more changes to come — with whispers Tommy Little and Steve Price will be the next to take their leave.

The dramatic upheaval has already sparked plenty of speculation that The Project is clearing the decks in order to make room for a total rebrand, including potentially scrapping the SundayProject altogether.

The network is yet to confirm who will fill the empty spot left by Peter Helliar after he unexpectedly quit on Monday, but it is understood Lisa Wilkinson will be replaced on Fridays and Sundays by Georgie Tunny.

In a statement released today about Sarah Harris’ new role, Channel 10 confirmed Waleed Aly, Hamish McDonald and Georgie Tunny will continue to feature on the show, however, Steve Price and Tommy Little’s names were nowhere to be seen.

Adding fuel to the theory Little will be next to announce his departure, last week, the Hit Network confirmed the comedian has signed on for four more years co-hosting the national drive show with Carrie Bickmore. understands, however, that the two may continue to slot in and out on the panel, and that the rumours they are leaving are false.

It comes as TV insiders have hinted this week will bring more shock changes to the show, sending speculation soaring about what will be next.

The Guardian’s media correspondent Amanda Meade today tweeted; “Brace yourself. There is more today,” in response to a tweet demanding why the changes to the panel couldn’t have been announced “all at once” to avoid speculation.

Elsewhere, Channel 7 entertainment reporter Peter Ford, who accurately predicted that Peter Helliar would quit the show after Wilkinson, has been vocal with his claims the network is considering axing the Sunday Project altogether, saying the show is “going into a sinkhole” as a result of dwindling ratings this year.

“This is a last-ditch attempt to try and save it, but whether the brand name is already too tarnished, only time will tell,” he said.

Ford also tweeted today that there’d be “much more” in relation to mass resignations from the program. However, speaking on 6PR Breakfast today after the Sarah Harris announcement, he said the changes to the line-up were “starting to settle”.

Lisa Wilkinson’s sudden exit

Wilkinson’s abrupt, “effective immediately” departure from The Project this week came as a big surprise to viewers – and it seems at least one of her co-hosts was caught off-guard as well.

Helliar – who announced he was leaving the show on Tuesday night – told Nova’s Fitzy and Wippa on Wednesday morning that he’d only found out about Wilkinson’s resignation a short time before the rest of Australia did.

“I must say, Lisa caught me by surprise on Sunday,” he told the radio hosts, admitting he’d had “no idea” it was coming.

“I didn’t actually know until Sunday. She messaged me on Sunday to let me know.”

On Sunday evening, Wilkinson announced she was leaving The Project after five years, citing a difficult last six months marked by “relentless, targeted toxicity”.

“It’s time to reprioritise a few things in my life,” Wilkinson told viewers.

She said it had been an “absolute privilege” to work with the “incredible team” at Ten, who she described as among “the most talented and decent humans I know”.

“I have had a ball. But for me, right now, it’s time for a change,” she said.

“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 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. And I hope you at home know that. I hope I brought you stories that matter and introduced you to people whose lives and experiences might otherwise never be told, and helped bring into focus issues that deserve our collective attention.”

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