Lou Pearlman creates Backstreet Boys: Part 2

Pearlman was shocked by the success of boy band New Kids on the Block and believed he could put a similar group together. Before long, he formed Backstreet Boys in Orlando, Florida.
9:01 | 12/14/19

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Transcript for Lou Pearlman creates Backstreet Boys: Part 2
In the early 1990s, new kids on the block, they were the biggest thing in the world. And teenage girls went bananas for them. They were everywhere. They were dolls, they were towels. They were lunchboxes. The new kids on the block! They played the super bowl half-time show. They were a really big pop deal. In 1991, "Forbes" magazine said new kids made more money than Madonna and Michael Jackson. But manufactured boy bands have been around forever. With the monkees. Then I saw her face I'm a believer just as long as you hold me And here was also menudo. Ricky martin was at one point a member. And don't forget new edition. They had Bobby brown. But it was the success of new kids that really caught Lou's attention. How's my mic? Good? Lou Pearlman talked to Chris Cuomo on "20/20" in 2000. I was invited to come down to one of their shows. All the screaming. I was like, "My god, what's going on here?" And these girls were buying these t-shirts and hats and chains and posters. I love the new kids. I was like, "Man, this is exciting." I mean, not to mention, okay. There's a tinkle into the cash register. No question about it. Unbelievable. So what did you do? I said, "I think I can do that. I think I can put a group like that together." By the time Lou had his idea to start a boy band, he was living in Orlando, Florida. And Orlando is a great place to be if you want to start a boy band because there's a lot of young talent auditioning for roles at the theme parks. I was a manager at the time. A.J. Mclean was a client. I always felt that because he had this talent and he was so focused on what he wanted to do from such a young age that he was destined for something special. I get a phone call one day from this gentleman who I'd never heard of before named Lou Pearlman. He had heard A.J. Sing and really loved him. And he wanted to know if I would work with him to put a new boy group together. Kind of on the lines of the new kids on the block. And so I'm like, "Hell yeah, I'm jumping on that." He said I could manage the group and be a co-producer with him. The big problem with new kids on the block is that there was a rumor that they couldn't sing live. So what Lou Pearlman thought was, "Oh, well, I'll find five guys who are good-looking and can dance but that can sing." So Lou puts an ad in the "Orlando sentinel," which reads, "Producer seeks male singers that move well between 16 and 19 years of age, wanted for a new kids type singing dance group." Lou Pearlman had a blimp warehouse where he stored the blimp parts in Kissimmee, Florida. And one by one the kids came in. Nicky Carter sang "Bridge over troubled waters." And, oh, my god, he knocked us on the floor. Obviously A.J. Mcclean. And we had Howard Dorough. Howie had a great voice. Those are the three originals. And we needed five. I liked the sound but I'd said to them, "You really need to have five-part harmony." Lou actually found Kevin at a Disney parade. He was playing aladdin. Kevin came into the group and recommended his cousin Brian. And he says, "I have a cousin in Kentucky. His name is Brian Littrell. He sings in church. He's a really good singer." So that formed five guys together. I put the money out to help them. We'd give them choreographers. We'd give them vocal lessons. We'd give them tutors. I think I'm a great cultivator. Lou is a big guy. But he wasn't a threatening guy. He was kind of a cherubic roly-poly kind of soft guy. They call me big papa. Lou does give himself a it's big papa. Because he's got it all covered. He's taking care of all of it. The kids all called him big papa. And it was endearing. I thought it was very sweet at the time. So the boys kind of welcome Pearlman as a father figure, especially Kevin Richardson, whose father had recently died of cancer. And A.J. Had grown up pretty much without a father. Nick Carter lived in Tampa. His father was a former truck driver who ran a nursing home with his wife Jane. And money was tight. When Nick was 13 he was offered big bucks to join the Mickey mouse club. And surprisingly enough his parents allowed him to choose Lou Pearlman's group instead of the Mickey mouse club. He was offered the Mickey mouse club contract. And then he was also offered this opportunity with the backstreet boys. Which, at that time they didn't even have a name. How much money did you turn down by not having Nick be a mouseketeer? It was $50,000. It was really a tough decision. In many ways, Pearlman filled a void for these boys. But big papa could be a tough taskmaster. Boy band boot camp, basically that's what is was. These kids worked seven days a week from early morning till early evening every day. Sometimes where they sweat a lot. We were in an environment sometimes they didn't have air conditioning. But it was great for the times that they're on tour and the hot summer nights. Or the hot summer days that they were good that they had that training. I think Lou's passion at that point, at the beginning, was so endearing. And his drive. In the spring of 1993, they appear on local channel 6 in Orlando. What is your name? I'm A.J. Mclean. Aj. And who are you? Howie D. Howie. Okay, now, where are you from? I'm from Lexington, Kentucky. My name's Brian litrell. Brian, okay, and over here? I'm from Tampa, Florida. And I'm Nick Carter. Okay, and who are you? I'm Kevin Richardson from Lexington, Kentucky. The new heartthrobs, huh? Make some noise for the backstreet boys! And then Lou books them at SeaWorld, which is, of course, a big attraction in Orlando. And it includes the temptations classic "Get ready." Pearlman makes a video of a SeaWorld performance and sends it around to people in the industry. Former new kids on the block road managers Johnny Wright and his then-wife Donna see the tape. And they think the boys have potential. We feel good. We're happy. Johnny and Donna came down. And they helped me manage the group. This is Johnny Wright, production manager and voice of the new kids. What I had heard about him prior to meeting him, that he was a billionaire. He runs around in a rolls Royce. He owns all these blimps in Orlando. He also told me he was a writer and a producer. I had no reason to doubt anything that he was telling me at that time. And he had already put the band together. So I just felt like, "Hey, we lucked into something here." But remember, Pearlman has already hired Jean tanzey as their manager. Lou Pearlman said, "Jean, you know, we love you. But we really need to bring in someone who has a lot more experience in the music industry. You're always going to be family." That was my good-bye kick. He just cut me out. With Johnny and Donna Wright on board as managers, the backstreet boys go on a tour of high schools. They would do three shows a day in three different schools. And they would bust out on the gym floor. And the girls would lose their mind. And they had never heard of them before. I went to all the schools. And saw the genesis of backstreet boys going around the country. You really have to be hands-on to be out there and see what's going on. Lou had his hands in everything. He would be like, "Yeah, I don't know if that move is right." He would show them in a funny way, like, something that they should do. Lou always felt that they shouldn't be so covered up. He always was thinking about the girls want, like, pin-up guys and stuff like that. And you also have to recall that this was when grunge was a big deal. Nirvana, pearl jam. We're getting gangster ra and snoop doggy Dogg is all the rage. And so there's nobody talking about a boy band. Everybody Now all they need is a record deal. And they'll get one. But by the time they get one, there'll be somebody else installed as a kind of sixth member of the group. The sixth man.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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