Paul Henry, who resigned from TVNZ following outrage over racist comments, will be back on screen after agreeing a deal with TV3.

Henry will also rejoin RadioLive as the new 4pm-6pm weekdays drive show host from July, returning to the same slot he held in April 2005 and again in 2007.

Last night MediaWorks, which owns TV3 and RadioLive, refused to elaborate on what television projects Henry would be involved with.

The former Breakfast host resigned from TVNZ in October in the aftermath of asking Prime Minister John Key if Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand was "even a New Zealander".

He continued: "Are you going to choose a New Zealander who looks and sounds like a New Zealander this time? Are we going to go for someone who is more like a New Zealander this time?"

TVNZ received hundreds of complaints and eventually chose to part ways with the high-rating broadcaster.

That followed earlier comments about the pronunciation of the name of Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit. Henry repeated and laughed several times at the name, called her "Dipshit" and then added: "And it's so appropriate because she's Indian."

Willie Jackson, the co-host of the RadioLive slot before the drive show, said TVNZ would now be ruing that decision.

"It's obvious that they still wanted Paul.

"I think it was pretty clear that the board of TVNZ didn't want Paul. But it's pretty obvious he had the backing of management.

"I think that they'll be particularly disappointed to see him on TV3. And if they've done the contract right they would have locked him in for the next 20 years."

He said he couldn't imagine Henry watering down his controversial style on his new projects.

"I wouldn't imagine he'd tone it down. Because I don't think that they've employed him to tone it down. He'll be as outrageous as ever."

A TVNZ spokeswoman said they wished Henry well, but wouldn't comment on his involvement with arch-rivals TV3: "But I'm sure we'll watch with interest."

Henry did not return calls last night but said in a statement that he was pleased to be returning to work.

"I'm really looking forward to working with the talented team at RadioLive, as well as the exciting projects that lie ahead with television."

MediaWorks TV chief executive Jason Paris, himself a high-profile defection from TVNZ, said the opportunity to sign Henry was "rare".

"These situations don't come along all that often and we are privileged to be able to take advantage of this."

Production company Ish Entertainment had been pitching Henry to agents and networks in the United States as a possible television host, but that possibility now appears to be over.