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MAR
19
5 YEARS

VH1 bringing back 'Behind the Music'

Behind the musicVH1 is reviving its former signature series "Behind theMusic."

The cable network is ordering about 10 new episodes of "Music,"bringing back the iconic documentary program that ran for severalyears on VH1 starting in 1997.

Lil Wayne and Scott Weiland have signed on to participate, with thenetwork near agreements with several other artists.

"It felt like the time is right," said Jeff Olde, VH1 executive vporiginal programming. "There's all sorts of new artists on thescene who have emerged and have these great stories. And there'sother artists that we always wanted to do the first timearound."

VH1 had a reminder of the show's popularity last fall when it aireda well-received 90-minute live New Kids on the Block "Behind theMusic" special. The event showed the group's first publicperformance in more than a decade along with a "BTM"retrospective.

"We always hear about the show, even now," Olde said. "It's amazinghow much affection viewers have for it."

VH1 stopped airing regular episodes of "BTM" in 2002, then airedonly a few a year until 2006. In focus groups, VH1 found "BTM" is so deeplyassociated with the channel, some viewers assumed the series neverleft the air. The show's storytelling model of the meteoric rise,tragic fall and sober rebirth of an artist was so distinctive that"The Simpsons" devoted an entire 2000 episode to parodying the show. Therewas also a short-lived spinoff titled "Behind the Music 2" thatlooked at the careers of younger performers.

VH1 will update the show's format for 2009, but not too much. JimForbes is back as the show's narrator, though the new episodes willadd more current footage to anchor the story in the present day –like the way the New Kids special intercut with a live event.

"I'm leery about changing certain elements," Olde said. "I thinkthe audience will be mad if we mess with it too much."

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Random clip from the Bon Jovi episode ....