Regional programmes on ITV could be slashed to help it save £40 million a year, under proposals outlined by media watchdog Ofcom.
ITV's regional news services would be among those in the firing line to ease pressure on the broadcaster as it suffers an advertising slowdown, according to the TV watchdog.
The proposals, which come under Ofcom's second public service broadcasting review, also raised fears over hundreds of jobs.
Gerry Morrissey, general secretary of the broadcasting workers' union Bectu, said staff will be balloted on strikes if there are any compulsory job losses as a result of the proposals.
The union fears there will be 250 jobs lost among journalists and technical staff, which Bectu will "fiercely" resist.
ITV welcomed the contents of the report, saying in a statement: "We have consistently argued that the regulatory costs and commercial benefits of holding the ITV plc licences need to be re-balanced between now and analogue switch-off in 2012.
"We welcome Ofcom's acknowledgement of the need to strike the right balance between these costs and benefits, which is reflected in its proposals for ITV plc's regional news services, regional non-news programmes and the out-of-London quota."
An ITV spokesman said that re-structuring could make savings of £40 million a year. He said staff will be told about any next steps in due course.
Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), said: "With ITV poised to begin making cuts before Ofcom even completes its consultation, the regulator's soft-touch approach has failed."
Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, said the watchdog's starting point was to protect the interest of the audience. Ofcom proposed that the number of regional news broadcasts should be reduced during the day, with the focus on prime-time news.