NEW YORK — Hallmark Entertainment has inked a deal with Kensington Publishing to publish books complementing its six 1999-2000 Hallmark miniseries. The books will be distributed domestically and internationally under the imprint Hallmark Entertainment Books.

The first book under the deal, “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” was published in time to support the miniseries, which aired Sept. 14 on the USA Network.

“We are delighted to be working with Kensington on these projects,” said Robert Halmi Jr., president and CEO of Hallmark Entertainment. “We find Kensington’s sensibilities a great match with our creative vision and content. We look forward to seeing our original teleplays come to life as quality books.”

Peacock projects

The next five books include the adaptation of two projects set to air on NBC within the next six months. The first, “Leprechauns,” is based on a teleplay written by Peter Barnes (“Noah’s Ark,” “Merlin”).

That telepic, set to air Nov. 7, stars Randy Quaid, Whoopi Goldberg and Kieran Culkin. Quaid plays an American in Ireland who discovers his cottage has been inhabited by leprechauns. When a conflict erupts between the leprechauns and the fairy kingdom, the American becomes enmeshed in their worlds. Scribe Craig Shaw Gardner will adapt the teleplay into a book.

The second, set to air on NBC in February 2000, is “The 10th Kingdom.” The mini, starring Kimberly Williams, John Larroquette and Diane Wiest, is about a young waitress (Williams) living in New York who is transported to the Land of Nine Kingdoms with her father (Larroquette). In the fantasy kingdom filled with fairytale characters, the duo becomes involved with a prince whose throne is being stolen by an evil queen. To regain his position the prince goes through the portal to the 10th Kingdom — New York.

Major mini

The effects-heavy 10-hour miniseries is one of Hallmark’s most ambitious projects to date. No network has tried to air a fictitious miniseries this long since 1988’s 30-hour “War and Remembrance” aired on ABC. The book will be penned by Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith (“Star Trek Voyager: Echoes”).

The other three books are an adaptation of “Arabian Nights” (ABC, May 2000), “Jason and the Argonauts” (NBC, May 2000) and “The Monkey King” (NBC, November 2000).

One of the largest independent publishing houses, Kensington Publishing Corp. recently inked a deal with Court TV to publish books based on their “Crime Stories” documentary series.