MasterChef and other local s' />

TV3 has dropped a number of much-hyped imports from its Sunday night lineup in the face of a TVNZ "powerhouse" headed by MasterChef and other local shows.

Modern Family, Grand Designs Australia, House and The Good Wife have all been put on hold by TV3.

The shows were competing with the successful MasterChef New Zealand and the current affairs show Sunday.

A spokeswoman for TV3 initially said the move was "based on performance" but later said the network was always going to show movies over Easter weekend.

TV3 programming chief Ged Mahony agreed and said: "We're really taking advantage of an opportunity to run a series of family movies in and around the school holidays ... The shows that have moved from the line-up for now are a big part of the schedule and will be back in the near future."

Freeview TV's latest overnight ratings show One's Sunday (7.30pm) drawing 631,040 viewers and MasterChef NZ (8.30pm) 496,450.

TV3's Grand Designs Australia at 7.30pm had 227,850 and House drew 196,500.

Media commentator Cindy Mitchener said TV3 programmers were smart to move the shows if they were not getting impressive audience numbers.

"TVNZ is a powerhouse at the moment ... They've got a lot of the tried-and-true, entertaining, local shows which are very hard to compete with."

Ms Mitchener, a partner at MG Communications, said shows like Modern Family, House and The Good Wife were TV3's new-season programming hits which the network would bank on to be successful.

"What's happening is the environment here is not allowing them to have an audience, so they thought they need to save them.

"However, who won't be too happy are the fans of Modern Family and those shows who will want to know where their shows have gone."

Ms Mitchener said it was likely the shows would return to the Sunday night slot when MasterChef finished in six weeks.

"But who knows - TV One could come out with another really great show which it [TV3] can't compete with again."

She said MasterChef was this year's Dancing With The Stars.

A TVNZ spokeswoman said the company was expecting audience numbers to increase as the series continued.