Could Carrie Bickmore take over Hamish & Andy's drive show?

IT'S the show she's hosted for eight years, but Carrie Bickmore could soon be facing a huge decision about her future on The Project.

Speculation is mounting the popular Channel Ten presenter is being eyed by bosses at Southern Cross Austereo's Hit Network to take over the reins of the Hamish & Andy drive show when the duo vacate the studio at the end of this year.

Since February, Bickmore has presented a one-hour 3pm show with comedian Tommy Little on the network. And several sources within SCA have confirmed to the duo are at the top of the list as potential replacements for the outgoing Hamish Blake and Andy Lee - along with Nova's Sydney breakfast duo Fitzy & Wippa.

While Bickmore's current gig on the network allows her to also present The Project four nights a week, the offer of a 4pm-6pm national drive show would mean a big decision for Bickmore.

"She would have to make that hard decision of what she wants to focus on," commentator and editor of Media Week James Manning told "There could be room for a continued casual relationship with The Project.

"Hosting maybe a Friday every week or just doing occasional weeks.

"Or, a wildcard is that Ten could also have another project in mind for her that might be a weekly program for her. It could keep the TV association, which makes the radio decision easier for her."

Securing the drive gig could be a potentially lucrative move for Bickmore. Hamish Blake and Andy Lee rake in a reported $4 million each per year on the Hit Network. With the duo gone, there's a lot of money in the budget to play with.

It's estimated Bickmore could be offered close to $1.5 million to replace the high profile duo.

The gig seems like the logical next step for Bickmore, who went from being Hughesy & Kate's newsreader on Nova in Melbourne to joining Rove Live on Channel Ten. Signing on to The Project in 2009 and fronting the current affairs show for eight years has secured her a Gold Logie and made her a household name. An offer to replace Hamish & Andy - one of the most successful shows in Australian radio history - could be the perfect next challenge. But not one without risks.

"I don't think it would be a bad idea to say no to it because, in a way, it's a risky career move," Manning said.

"Probably not as risky as taking on a breakfast show in radio because there's more scrutiny on those shows with the ratings.

"[With] her good friend Rove [McManus], she saw what happened there when he went into radio. And she'd be more than well aware with the risks associated with taking on a new role in a different medium."

Pairing McManus and former Bachelorette Sam Frost to fill the troubled breakfast spot on Sydney's 2Day seemed like a foolproof plan. The three-time Gold Logie winner and the relatable girl next door each had national profiles from their time on TV. It made sense on paper. But it didn't work out.

"A big TV name certainly doesn't guarantee an audience - but it can't hurt," Manning said.

Neither Bickmore's manager or head of content for the Hit Network Gemma Fordham wished to comment on The Project host's potential move to the drive slot.

Despite whispers of the network's interest in making Bickmore its next big star, several sources in the industry have their money on the Fitzy & Wippa {Ryan Fitzgerald and Michael Wipfli) option. While several big radio acts are up for contract negotiations this year, understands Hit Network is interested in luring the duo across.

It's a strategic move that some in the industry think could work for the network's troubled Sydney station 2Day.

In Tuesday's survey results, Fitzy & Wippa recorded a 6.9 per cent share. It falls behind KIIS' The Kyle & Jackie O Show (9.7) and WSFM's Jonesy & Amanda (7.1) but rates higher than Triple M's The Grill Team (5.7) and 2Day's latest breakfast offering of Em Rusciano and Harley Breen, who fell a full point to 3.1.

Poaching Fitzy & Wippa has obvious benefits for the Hit Network.

It robs Nova of a strong breakfast show - and, as Hit's Sydney station 2Day have learned the hard way, it's very hard to rebuild a successful breakfast show. Plus, the duo have an established show with built-in listeners and their crossover could lift the profile of 2Day's struggling breakfast slot.

"They appeal to a similar audience [as Hamish & Andy] and they have a national profile. They tick lots of boxes," Manning said.

News Corp Australia

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