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"Behind the Music' spawns book series

VH1 and Pocket Books, both Viacom properties, are teaming to publish at least five books based on the VH1 series Behind the Music and one based on The List.

The first Behind the Music book, due Tuesday, is about WillieNelson. Following in November will be books based on The Day the Music Died, about the 1959 deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, and 1968, about the music that was influenced by events of that year and vice versa. Pocket Books will publish Rock 'n' Roll Casualties in summer 2001.

Although the initial agreement is for five books, the potential exists for more, VH1 executive vice president of business strategy and program enterprises Ann Sarnoff said.

"Publishing makes a lot of sense from our perspective," Sarnoff said. "The reason we're so excited about Behind the Music is it's our most popular series. It lends itself to publishing because it's about storytelling. People love to hear the stories about their favorite musicians."

Sarnoff said the authors that VH1 and Pocket Books jointly select will take material from the TV episodes and enhance it. They will work closely to make sure they have all of VH1's resources. The books will contain interviews and photographs not included in the TV version, she said.

"There's a lot of value added in the book that goes beyond what they saw," Sarnoff said.

Pocket Books deputy publisher Kara Welsh said Behind the Music and The List will work great in book form because "as interesting as the shows are, you want to learn more. And we thought we could extend it."

The fourth season of Behind the Music debuts this month. Featured artists will include Cat Stevens, Stone Temple Pilots, Chicago, Sinead O'Connor, the Wallflowers, Snoop Dogg, Barenaked Ladies, Brian Setzer and Badfinger. The fourth anniversary special, featuring memorable moments from the show's first three years, will be shown at 9 p.m. Sept. 24.

The book based on VH1's panel series The List is due out in December. It will have three elements: the celebrity list for each show's topic, an audience list of favorites and a list of music facts.

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