TVNZ has poached popular Australian soap Home and Away from TV3 after indebted parent company Mediaworks lost the show's rights.
Mediaworks receivers KordaMentha this afternoon said TV3 was disappointed the show's distributor had chosen to cancel its agreement and grant the licence to TVNZ.
The loss was understood to have been triggered by a clause nullifying the contract if the company goes into receivership.
A well-placed source said the loss of the high-rating Aussie soap became apparent this week and Mediaworks' attempts to save it came to nought.
Rights to the show are held by the European distributor Endemol.
KordaMentha partner and receiver Brendon Gibson said while the management team was disappointed at the loss, Mediaworks would continue to produce and broadcast "great television'' for its viewers.
"It is regrettable that TVNZ has convinced the distributor to cancel our agreement.
However, this business is much bigger than one show.
"TV3 continues to lead the way with producing excellent local content, broadcasting popular international programming and has the best news and current affairs in the country.''
Mr Gibson said Mediaworks was now focused on providing ``a top quality alternative to Home and Away that our loyal audience will enjoy just as much''.
The show aired in the 5.30pm weekday slot which helped to drive viewers to 3 News at 6pm.
In a statement, TVNZ confirmed it had signed a deal to bring the show back to TV2 screens.
"Loyal fans can be reassured that we'll give Home and Away a great weeknight timeslot, with catch-up episodes planned for the weekend,'' said Jeff Latch, TVNZ's head of TV One and TV2.
TVNZ would release schedule details for the show in the near future.