The 40-year-old Australian comedian, who joined the panel for the daily comedy news show when it premiered in 2009, admitted that he and his co-stars Carrie Bickmore and Charlie Pickering aren't "breaking any records" with ratings.
Hughes told National Features: "My manager rang me three months before the show started and told me about the concept. He said Channel Ten was going to back it in [but] I was wary of it [thinking], 'can that work?'
"On the first night, every time I opened my mouth I thought I was ruining my career. We were coming off the back of MasterChef Australia, being at seven o'clock, so there were unrealistic expectations."
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Hughes continued: "There were a lot of arguments. Everyone was stressed and it was really hard work. It is a different concept going from serious to funny to serious gear changes in half an hour.
"Early on, people were saying, 'This isn't going to work'. There is still a struggle between the serious news and the comedy bits. There was a time when I almost gave up the struggle and just went with it."
Hughes also explained that he has now worked around his early issues getting to grips with the format, saying: "It was at the start of the second year that things started to relax. I'd worked out that I wasn't very good at reading the autocue. My part now is to get the straight news clips and make them comedy clips. You see how they can be funny."
The 7pm Project was recommissioned for another year in 2010 after being nominated twice at the Logie Awards.
The 7pm Project airs on weeknights at 7pm on Channel Ten.
Watch Dave Hughes perform live in Adelaide below (video contains very strong language from the outset):