New Zealand on Air has agreed to fund a shorter second season of TVNZ drama show Filthy Rich, at a cost of $6.9 million.

The decision comes three months after the debut season of Filthy Rich finished screening on TV2, attracting limited ratings success and poor reviews from critics.

Film-makers Filthy Productions received $8.1m of taxpayer funding for season one's 20 one-hour episodes. Season two will be shorter, at 14 episodes.

Critics savaged the programme. The Herald's Duncan Greive called it "a caricature of New Zealand, with heartless wealth and plucky poverty and a cynical pimp and a conniving businesswoman".


He wrote: "The show it called to mind the most was Dallas, a groundbreaking drama centred around the scions of a wealthy family.

"State-of-the-art in 1980."

Filthy Rich premiered to an audience of more than 406,000 viewers in February, but Kiwis were quick to switch off, and the average audience dropped to around half that figure.

NZOA and TVNZ defended the series' performance, pointing to its success on digital platforms.

"The brilliantly made first series had an average 5-plus audience of 250,000 and a total of more than 700,000 on demand streams across the series, meeting NZ On Air's objective of a bold local drama engaging its audience," NZOA said.

Filthy Rich stars Miriama Smith as the head of the wealthy Truebridge family, caught in a bitter power struggle.