'Back Benches' to return to TV

Popular political show Back Benches will return to our television screens next year thanks to more than $600,000 of funding from NZ on Air.

Twenty episodes will screen on Prime from early next year, NZ on Air announced today.

It will provide funding of $629,187 towards the episodes, with Sky TV also contributing to funding for the series.

NZ on Air chief executive Jane Wrightson said they were "thrilled" to be able to support the show, which combined political current affairs and humour to make "topical political debate highly accessible", she said.

"The series found a loyal audience on TVNZ 7, and NZ On Air and Prime are delighted to join forces to find it a new home."

Repeats of the show will screened on TVNZ's Heartland.

Back Benches was scrapped earlier this year by TVNZ after channel TVNZ7 was closed in June because of expired government funding, representatives said at the time.

The show was set in Wellington's Backbencher pub opposite parliament, and filming is expected to return there when the pub reopens. It was extensively damaged in a fire in June and is under renovation.