Key Points:

Legal threats are flying between two of broadcasting's biggest names, after talkback host Willie Jackson launched an extraordinary attack on Tony Veitch's return to television.

Jackson has been forced to partially apologise after a vitriolic on-air attack against Veitch - so bad that a shaken Veitch, his father, his lawyer, and his public relations spokeswoman all called Jackson's radio station and his bosses.

Jackson told the Herald on Sunday it was "disgraceful" Veitch had been hired by Murray Deaker as a panellist for his Sky TV show Deaker on Sport.

"I have no problem with him making a buck, but he shouldn't be on our TV screens. Just because it's not taxpayer-funded TV... I mean, Sky TV has a huge audience. It is a terrible precedent.

"There's a huge question mark hanging over Veitch at the moment and it's not right and it's not appropriate that he's on right now."

Jackson went further on his RadioLive talkback spot, making several outlandish comments and essentially finding Veitch guilty of the charges he faces in relation to the alleged assault on his ex-partner Kristin Dunne-Powell.

A spokeswoman for Veitch, Glenda Hughes, said such statements caused "huge distress" for Veitch and his family.

"The major concern is that the readers and listeners, who are potential jurors, could be influenced by these wildly exaggerated and totally false statements that some members of the media persist in putting into the public arena."

She said neither Veitch nor his family could defend themselves against "sloppy and lazy journalism" because the matter was before the courts.

Jackson said the Veitch camp had threatened defamation proceedings through his RadioLive station manager, Mitch Harris, and the chief executive of RadioWorks, Brent Impey. Jackson said he had been asked to stop commenting on Veitch.

Hughes said the Veitch camp was focusing on an upcoming depositions hearing. "Matters in relation to media organisations who have proffered these false statements, including the ones that he booted her in the head, threw her down the stairs and left her unconscious for six hours will be looked at later."

Jackson acknowledged some of his comments on radio last week were "wrong, and I apologised for that".

Jackson said he had nothing personal against Veitch, but he should find some non-broadcasting work, go through the court process, and then have "another crack at TV".

He said his agenda was one of justice, comparing Veitch's situation with that of former police boss Clint Rickards and Maori activist Tame Iti.

"I think there are definitely a different set of rules for our people. It was okay to throw Tame into jail for two or three weeks because no one gave a damn about a moko-faced man. I never saw Paul Holmes, [NewstalkZB boss] Bill Francis and [Sky TV boss] John Fellet ... none of them came to Tame's defence.

"It's different for a white, little rich boy especially when you have heavyweight mates like Deaker, Francis, Paul Holmes, John Fellet... that makes a difference."

Veitch said he had received several job offers in the media, both here and overseas, after this week's TV appearance.

In a statement to the Herald on Sunday, he said he "felt alive again ... to be back doing what I've trained to do, and what I love".

"I've been blown away by the reaction of so many Kiwis after the show. The next morning several people within the media made contact with offers of work, so all of a sudden I have direction and hope back in my life, and for that I have Murray to thank.

"While over the past seven months there have been times when I have wanted to give up, and let this whole situation get the better of me, I am now ready on so many fronts to get my life back in order.

"I now have several options to get my working life back again, and for that I am eternally grateful."

Deaker said he had received 100 per cent positive support for Veitch's inclusion on the show, and had "not had one negative email".

"I don't think the people in the media who have been manipulating this case realise how strongly the general public is viewing them with disdain and abhorrence."

Deaker described Veitch's performance as "amazing".

"He was nervous but he was superbly prepared. I said to him afterwards when we were on our own, 'You were much better than I thought you'd be. I feel you went to a new level tonight'.

"He looked at me and I said, 'Tony, I have never known you to sit around and be part of a team [which he was] and be serious'. Because his programmes have been entertainment - one was a game show and that's a different format so there was a lot of fooling around."

Deaker said Sky was thrilled with the ratings which, he said, had shown a "definite spike". Deaker on Sport screened live on Sky Sport 2 and pulled in 21,000 viewers, according to AGB Nielsen Media Research.