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The Project: an advance view of Three's big new show

Rove McManus will be the guest on the first episode of The Project.

He owns the master franchise, and so to make sure the Kiwi version of his Australian news-comedy vehicle The Project fits the formula, Aussie talk show host Rove McManus will guest on its debut episode on Monday night.

McManus will be in New Zealand with other key staff from The Project to ensure the new show's launch is smooth.

The Project debuts on Monday night on Three at 7pm.

Kanoa Lloyd, Jesse Mulligan and Josh Thomson are hosting TV3's new weeknight show The Project.

But a live dress rehearsal on Thursday night gave a small media audience a sneak peek of what the much-hyped weeknight show will look like.

Jesse Mulligan: why stars should come on The Project
* Project hosts named

Under the glare of studio lights, the slightly nervous-looking hosts Kanoa Lloyd, Jesse Mulligan and Josh Thomson were seated at a desk and joined by 7 Days' stalwart Jeremy Corbett for reasons I'm still not entirely sure of.


Australian comedian and presenter Rove McManus owns The Project concept.

The show kicked off on a sombre note with a straight news piece presented by Lloyd about the Port Hills fire which featured a live cross to a reporter. 

Other segments in the show included a pre-recorded interview with Mt Albert by-election candidate Geoff Simmons, who was asked a lot of questions about cats.

Initially this felt like one of those entertaining-but-weird spoof interviews but it's worth remembering that Simmons is part of Gareth Morgan's political party. Enough said.

The show also featured some amusing internet video clips which allowed the panellists to engage in some light banter.

For the show's final segment, Ocker comedian Peter Helliar joined the team to chat about his own experience across the ditch as a host on the Australian version of The Project.  

He also offered words of encouragement to his Kiwi counterparts and appealed to the audience to give the 7pm show a chance.

Overall, it felt like Mediaworks had worked hard to get the right combination of people behind the desk. Mulligan was a pro as the (mostly) serious anchor while Lloyd showed there so much more to her than weather presenting. Lastly, Thomson who no doubt honed his comedy panel skills on 7 Days, was a good fit as the funny guy.

It was a promising start and if we're talking marks out of five, it's at least a three - if not a three-and-a-half.