The future of heavyweight political show Agenda may depend on how quickly the National Government brings in its broadcasting policy.
TVNZ is dropping Agenda in favour of a new political current affairs show that is due to air in the New Year.
But executive producer Richard Harman - whose company Front Page owns the Agenda name - wants to keep making the show using Government funding.
National has promised to open up millions of dollars the Government gives TVNZ to other companies to make local programmes.
Mr Harman said if National delivered on its policy promise by April or May he would apply for funding for Agenda. If the Government did not introduce the policy by next June it would be too late. TVNZ's contract with Front Page ends on December 7.
TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards said the state broadcaster was developing a replacement for Agenda to air under a different name. It was too early to discuss the show's format or who might present it. But she said TVNZ was "seriously considering" making the new show in-house.
"We see some considerable advantage in a closer relationship with our existing news and current affairs team," she said.
Mr Harman said staff were already leaving Agenda. He was disappointed to lose the contract so soon after the show won its biggest-ever audience of more than 100,000 viewers on the Sunday after the election.
He blamed a lack of promotion by TVNZ for a dip in ratings after the show was moved from Saturday to Sunday.
Media commentator Jim Tully of Canterbury University said Agenda had been unique in its ability to attract politicians who might otherwise not have commented on issues in the media.