A taxpayer handout for "investigative journalism" has saved TV3's current affairs show 3rd Degree but left Campbell Live fighting for its life.
At the end of last year - as Julie Christie and Mark Weldon settled in to the new MediaWorks company - the future of both shows was in doubt.
Both had battled to maintain ratings in 2014.
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3rd Degree had success with its Teina Pora investigation and was less campaigning than Campbell, causing less flak with politicians - but it was expensive to make and lost money last year.
A December funding agreement with NZOA secured $567,000 for 10 half-hour investigative items on 3rd Degree - renamed 3D Investigates. Details of the taxpayer funding emerged on Wednesday.
Campbell Live was given the go ahead at the end of last year, but on TV3 told its staff yesterday to prepare for the worst.
Rightly or wrongly the view among some in the news division is that - despite claims to the contrary - the current management did not want Campbell Live to survive.
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But the timing of yesterday's announcement raises questions whether the reprise of the show had always been temporary. Sources at MediaWorks doubt Campbell Live will see out 2015 and the company has suggested feasible options include a daily Jono and Ben show, a tabloid Hard Copy style show and a new daily soap.
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TV3 itself has asked staff if hard-hitting current affairs belongs at 7pm.
The surprise meeting with staff - with a HR adviser on hand - occurred soon after NZ On Air announced its surprising contribution to 3rd degree.
The meeting was also three days into the well-resourced new Paul Henry show, which has been developed as a key part of Christie's overhaul of the channel.
One source familiar with the situation said Campbell Live had been told to come up with new ideas that would ensure its survival. Campbell Live and TV3 did not respond to queries.
There had been no indication from management on the time period for making such a decision.
Rightly or wrongly, the view among some in the news division is that - despite claims to the contrary - the current management did not want Campbell Live to survive.
Another issue has been promotion. A marketing source said TV3 had put a lot of money into promoting its new reality shows such as "The Bachelor" and "X Factor", rather than 3News and Campbell Live.
3 News ratings slid last year after the company lost its lead-in programme, the Australian soap Home and Away. That slide - which has been less noticed - led to a smaller lead-in audience for Campbell Live.
Meantime, One News and its light and breezy follow up has been recording strong ratings.