In the old days, people would wait decades before opening up a time capsule.

On VH1, it'll take about a year.

MTV's mellower younger sister, VH1 is looking to find the next Behind the Music, the biography show that the music channel is best known for.

"The audience still likes the [music-focused] brand composition of VH1 but has grown tired of the content," admits VH1's president of entertainment, Brian Graden.

The channel's new lineup -- which was supposed to include the now-aborted reality show Liza & David featuring Liza Minnelli and svengali-hubby David Gest -- is a mixture of reality-based programs, a new awards show and magazine-style specials that focus on what Graden calls "instant modern nostalgia."

And that means showcasing events and items from the recent past, he says.

"We're not dealing with things that are 40 years old. We're dealing generally with things that might even be five, ten or even a year old."

A good example, he says, is the channel's new show, I Love the '80s, which focuses on music, but also recalls the buzz around movies like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Sara Jessica Parker's first TV show, Square Pegs.

"That's the one place that I see an opportunity in cable, because no one else is really doing that," he says. In December, VH1 will put its marketing muscle behind a new awards show, "The VH1 Big in 2002 Awards" that aims to gift wrap the year's best moments in pop culture.

"I think the things you'll remember this year are Jennifer Aniston giving birth on Friends or the miners being rescued or a certain song that you can't get out of your head," says Graden.

"Those are the kind of things that sort of end up reflecting a year. So we thought it would be interesting to do the world's first instant time capsule in the form of an awards show -- and we'd sort of instantly chronicle the best of the best and you're left with a video time capsule."

Other new additions to the schedule include the 50 Greatest Hip Hop Artists of All Time will feature groundbreaking groups such as Run-D.M.C., The Beastie Boys and TLC; VH1's Ambushed a show that turns an unsuspecting local singer into a rock star; Inside/Out, a documentary series that captures behind-the-scenes moments with musicians; and Mock Rock, a show that gives local bands a chance to headline a show at a major rock star venue.

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