The Nine Network is channelling tens of millions of dollars freed up from the end of its output deal with Warner Bros. into a record investment in local content.

Spending on local production will continue to rise over the next three years to the point where the network invests $100 million more per year than currently, executives said at the upfronts presentation today.

While Nine retains the first-run rights to The Big Bang Theory, director of programming and production Andrew Backwell said the broadcaster decided to relinquish the re-runs (subsequently acquired by Seven) because it preferred to spend the money on local content.

The 2016 line-up includes the Matchbox Pictures drama Hide & Seek, CJZ’s previously announced two-part Alan Bond miniseries House of Bond and a new factual series, Prison: First & Last 24 Hours.

Daryl Somers will return to TV as the host of You’re Back in the Room, a FremantleMedia Australia game show in which hypnotist Keith Barry works his spell to try to stop contestants from winning cash prizes.

Nine revealed the cast of Here Come the Habibs!, Jungleboys’ 6-part sitcom which follows a family of Lebanese migrants from the Western suburbs who win $22 million in the lottery and move to the Eastern suburbs.

The characters include pig-headed dad Fou Fou (Michael Denkha) a dodgy builder, mum Mariam (Camilla Ah Kin), daughter Layla (Kat Hoyos), an Instagram-a-holic, middle child Elias (Tyler De Nawi), a uni student, and Toufic (Sam Alhaje),  a wheeler-dealer entrepreneur.

Neighbour Olivia O’Neill (Helen Dallimore) is determined to drive the Habibs from her world and enlists her husband Jack (Darren Gilshenan) to help in the quest. Daughter Madison (Georgia Flood) doesn’t think the Habibs are all that bad, especially the youngest son.

Now shooting, the series was created by Rob Shehadie, Tahir Bilgic and Matt Ryan-Garnsey and is directed by Darren Ashton and produced by Chloe Rickard.

Nine’s co-head of drama Andy Ryan tells IF the series has the potential to continue if it catches on.

Due to start shooting in early 2016, contemporary crime thriller Hide & Seek is set in a world where everybody has something to hide and nobody is what they seem. While investigating a murder, police and immigration officials uncover a network of potential terrorists who entered Australia under false passports. The enemies of national security are hiding in plain sight and the race is on to hunt them down before the next atrocity.

The series is created and written by Rachel Lang (Outrageous Fortune, Go Girls) and Gavin Strawhan (This Is Not My Life, When We Go To War) and produced by Stephen Corvini for Matchbox.

House of Bond will chronicle the rags-to-riches-to-rags tale of controversial business tycoon Alan Bond from the 1960s-90s, produced by Paul Bennett (House of Hancock, Great Mint Swindle) and written by Sarah Smith (Winter, Rescue Special Ops, Dripping in Chocolate). No director is attached yet.

Produced in-house, Prison: First & Last 24 Hours will take viewers inside men’s and women’s prisoners around the country as offenders start their first day in lock-up and the final 24 hours of their sentence. It will also look at the impact on their family, friends and corrections officers.

Season two of Fredbird Entertainment’s The Embassy will follow Australian diplomatic staff at work in Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.

As previously announced, FremantleMedia’s This Time Next Year is a studio-based series that will feature ordinary people on a quest to transform their lives in extraordinary ways over the course of 12 months, by such means as losing half their body weight, finding love or becoming a parent. The twist- contestants will embark on their mission and reappear moments later, completely transformed one year on and revealing their new personas.

Produced by FremantleMedia, Australia’s Got Talent will return with a new host in Dave Hughes and new judges in Kelly Osbourne, Ian “Dicko” Dickson, Eddie Perfect and Sophie Monk.

The line-up also includes the third season of Playmaker Media’s Love Child (set against the back drop of the Vietnam War) and the fifth of House Husbands, plus season 5 of Endemol Shine’s The Voice, the 12th edition of The Block and another Reno Rumble..

The second series of Endemol Shine Australia’s Married at First Sight will follow three relationship experts as they pair eight singles using a mix of neuroscience and psychology to try to create four perfect matches. Those who make it through the "wedding" will move in together for one month.

FremantleMedia’s The Farmer Wants a Wife is back with a new host, country music’s Sam McClymont, and eight cockies looking for love.

Backwell said the network will soon decide whether to renew Hot Plate after the first series averaged about 870,000 viewers.

Among the imports will be Soundbreaking, which featuring more than 150 interviews with singers, producers and music industry pioneers, and David Attenborough’s natural history series The Hunt.
 

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