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Backstreet Boys Turned Into Rabbits, Bears

Although two of the Backstreet Boys have gotten into some adult-oriented trouble of late, in August, fans can catch the group projected in a much more child-like light.

The pop quintet will be rendered as animated manimals (part man, part animal) in an hour-long special broadcast of the PBS children’s cartoon “Arthur,” in which all the characters are drawn with some amalgam of human and animal characteristics. Brian Littrell and Howie Dorough are depicted as rabbits, while Kevin Richardson, Nick Carter and A.J. McLean resemble bear-like creatures.

The episode, tentatively titled “It’s Only Rock and Roll,” will premiere in selected markets during the stations’ August pledge drives (check local listings) and is scheduled for a nationwide broadcast a few weeks later, according to a show spokesperson.

In the episode, a Backstreet Boys concert is scheduled in Arthur and the gang’s hometown of Elwood City, much to the delight of Muffy, who’s lovesick for Carter. Francine, however, doesn’t share her friend’s love for the Boys and forms a rival band called U Stink (hmmm… remind you of anyone?). Dilemma ensues when U Stink begin to blow up, and the episode comes to a climax with a duet between the two bands.

During the concert scenes, the cartooned group will perform two new songs written by the show’s creators, and their own material will be peppered throughout the episode, the spokesperson said. The special episode will also feature behind-the-scenes footage of the Boys tracking their vocal parts in a recording session yet to take place.

“It’s Only Rock and Roll” will also be available on home video and as a book in September.

BSB aren’t the first musical guests to visit Elwood City; the series, whose theme song is performed by Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, has boasted guest appearances from classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma, jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman and folk-pop singer Art Garfunkel.

The “Arthur” series, in its sixth season, is based on the books of Marc Brown and flaunts a weekly viewership of more than 11.5 million.

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