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New sitcom and favourite dramas to return to Nine

Fans of Love Child and House Husbands can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing they'll be back next year. But alongside the old faves, Channel Nine has a slab of new shows coming up too.

Here Come the Habibs! promises big laughs when a Lebanese migrant family get rich and move to Australia’s wealthiest suburb in this bold fish-out-of-water tale. The latest from the comic minds of Jungleboys (No Activity), the Screen Australia and Screen NSW supported series is currently in production in Sydney.

It’s also the first Australian scripted comedy TV series on a commercial network since Kath & Kim, nearly ten years ago.

CEO Graeme Mason says the multicultural representation in series like Here Come the Habibs! is invaluable and something we should be seeing more of.

“Australia is a multicultural country and it’s incredibly important that audiences see this melting pot of cultures and people reflected in the stories we tell on screens,” Mr Mason says.

Also on the agenda next year is Nine’s new crime thriller Hide & Seek, where police and immigration officials discover a group of potential terrorists who have entered the country under false passports and race to track them down.

Then after the success of biopic House of Hancock comes a new telemovie about controversial Australian business tycoon Alan Bond. House of Bond will track how the Ten-Pound-Pom rose from the back alleys of Fremantle to become one of the richest men in Australia, until his empire came crashing down.

For fans of Wentworth and Orange is the New Black, Nine is offering up a look at the real thing – Prison: First and Last 24 Hours takes viewers inside men and women’s prisons around the country. As it follows offenders either just starting their sentence, or in their final day, audiences get a raw glimpse at the impact it has on their family, friends and corrections officers.

Nine’s programming and production Andrew Backwell told News Limited they are the only network without an output deal with a US studio, saying within three years they will be spending $100 million more on local production. Audience engagement in US content is dropping dramatically while Australian television drama is attracting more and more viewers.

Mr Mason says the value of this to the local screen sector is huge, with crews relying on the steady employment that a TV series brings.

“It’s much more likely that people – actors and crew – get more consistent work on a TV show than a one-off film, big or small,” he says.

“TV is invaluable to the wider screen sector of Australia.”