The Channel Ten program honoured the Gold Logie-winner, who was the show’s only remaining original host, with a revolving door of guest panellists, plenty of surprising celebrity cameos, and several emotional packages looking back at her illustrious career.
The episode began with Carrie, who was dressed in a glitzy red feathered mini dress, greeting viewers with a glass of champagne in hand while the studio audience gave her extended applause.
Australian stars including Julia Morris, Tim Minchin, Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald, Kitty Flanagan, Jimmy Barnes and Todd Sampson shared their well wishes via video message, as well as Natalie Imbruglia who said: “I really admire the fact that you’re making a change and jumping and not knowing what you’re going to do next.”
It didn’t take long for the tears to flow as the show played a package celebrating her enormous efforts in raising over $20 million to fight brain cancer following the death of her husband Greg in 2010.
“I will forever be thankful to The Project, but also to our viewers at home for your support and for making our foundation what it is today,” she said. “We’ve now raised over $20 million and that would not have happened if it weren‘t for this place, if it weren’t for Greg and it wasn’t for you watching at home, so thank you very, very much.”
She also announced the launch of limited edition Carrie’s Beanies 4 Brain Cancer baseball caps to continue raising funds, which are available for purchase here.
Revolving door of co-hosts
Carrie’s radio co-host Tommy Little was the first special guest to appear on The Project desk, remarking that nobody in the world makes him laugh as much as she does.
Rachel Corbett was next to present a package of Carrie’s most tearful and heartwarming moments on the show, ending with the pair of hosts giving each other a tight hug.
“I am so sad you‘re going because I have loved sitting next to you for the last six years,” she said through tears. “You are so generous, so kind, such a good performer, so smart and people love you at home because you are the perfect mix of professionalism and realness and you have given so much of yourself to this show.”
Kate Langbroek also thanked Carrie for her time on the show, calling her a “foul weather friend” and saying: “You have summed up our entire nation and the changing of fashions just with your eyebrows. You’re a queen, my friend, and I adore you!”
Steve Price, who started on The Project almost as early as Carrie, candidly told the beloved host that she was the “most impressive person” he’s ever worked with. He then began tearing up as he said that throughout his 50-year-long career in the media industry, he’s never met anyone as generous as Carrie.
“I mean it, I’m not just saying it. You’re incredible - you know that,” he continued. “I had to argue with Charlie [Pickering] and put up with Dave Hughes, but I never had a problem with you.”
The show’s original hosts Charlie and Dave then made a surprise reunion on the desk, followed by Hamish Macdonald and Fifi Box, who shared how her relationship with Carrie evolved from colleagues to best friends.
“You are the most impressive, professional TV presenter and broadcaster I’ve ever witnessed,” she shared. “You are everything you appear to be, but I can say personally as a friend, but also a mother, you are phenomenal and you’re my rock.”
Prime Minister’s touching tribute
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was then welcomed onto the show to deliver a touching farewell tribute to Carrie.
“I just wanted to say just a big shout out for your warmth and your humanity that just shone through,” he began. “You talk about stories, but you always shone through with the people behind the stories, and what it really meant. And that made a difference.'
“That's why people like you, that’s why people feel like they know you because you weren't frightened of showing people a lot of yourself on screen and in the way that you interviewed people.”
Peter Helliar, who is set to depart The Project next Wednesday, told Carrie that she was “one of the best human beings in the biz” during his heartfelt tribute towards the end of the show.
“You radiate generosity and empathy and warmth, and that just bounces back to us from our amazing audience,” he said. “You are the captain, it all starts with you. I cannot wait to see what you do next.”
Carrie’s longtime co-host Waleed Aly was the last of her co-hosts to share some parting words, praising her for making The Project “20 times better” with all of her work behind the scenes.
Carrie’s final farewell
To wrap up the farewell episode, Carrie shared a detailed speech thanking everyone who has been a part of the show over the years, from Channel Ten executives to security and the hair and makeup team.
She started tearing up as she thanked her family, her partner Chris Walker and three children Ollie, Evie and Adelaide, and her parents who were all sitting together in the audience.
“To Chris, thank you for everything. Your guidance and advice over the years, your amazing production skills,” she said. “This show has given us so much. We wouldn't have our beautiful little [children] if it wasn't for The Project.”
“Evie, Addie and Ollie. You guys are my world. Love you guys,” she continued. “I hope you all find a job, you three kids, that you love as much as I love this job, it’s an absolute joy. And I hope you're proud of everything I’ve done over the years.
“To my parents and my friends and family, it certainly takes a village to help a mum of three do a job like this on TV and I couldn't have done it without all of you. So thank you so much for picking up the pieces when let them go.”
Carrie ended her speech thanking her viewers, and broke down in tears as she shared a sweet story of a young girl at a children’s hospital who told her that she would watch The Project so she would feel “happier and less alone”.
“I am so glad I could have kept her company, and I hope I have kept many of you company over the years. It’s been the greatest job in the world, thank you,” she said.
As confetti shot out of the cannon and Carrie wiped away her tears, she laughed: “Is it too late to change my mind?”
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