'Beat Bugs' Creator & UMG Develop Three New Music-Themed TV Shows

Josh Wakely
Maarten de Boer/Getty Images Portrait

Josh Wakely photographed during the 2016 Television Critics Association Summer Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 27, 2016 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

'27,' 'Melody Island' and 'Mixtape' are the working titles of the new series in development.

Universal Music Group and Josh Wakely, principal partner at production company Grace/Beyond, have a trio of new television series in the works, following their collaboration on Netflix's Beatles-inspired Beat Bugs and an upcoming untitled Motown project.

The three new series, a mix of animated and live action shows, will be anchored by music from UMG's catalog.

Working titles for the new series include 27, Melody Island and Mixtape.

“It’s an incredible honor to be entrusted with the jewels of these catalogs of music and songs to create projects that will perpetuate their popularity and reach new audiences around the world,” Wakely says in a statement. “I’ve long held some very specific ideas that have been burning through me while I searched for the right environment in which to bring them to life. This agreement is a creative dream come true, as I know we have found the perfect partners in Lucian Grainge, Michele Anthony, Boyd Muir and the entire UMG team.”

The live-action, scripted 27 is based on the "startling array of legendary musicians, artists and entertainers [who] died tragically young at the age of 27," a press release says. "This series explores the life circumstances behind a fictionalized variety of characters coming to a crossroads at the pivotal age of 27."

Melody Island, like Beat Bugs, is a children's program. It's an animated series with episodes based on "a story inspired by a classic UMG master or composition with an uplifting message and tropical island feeling," but it will also have live-action segments with guest stars teaching kids projects and crafts.

Mixtape, a "12-track season" drama with each episode based on a song, will mimic the format of an actual mixtape, "fast forwarding, pausing and rewinding on the pivotal moments that define the relationships, love and heartbreak of the stories’ characters."

Beat Bugs, which features Beatles tunes sung by a wide variety of contemporary artists including Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Jennifer Hudson, Pink, Robbie Williams and Rod Stewart in its first season, debuted on Netflix -- alongside a 27-track, two-disc soundtrack released via Apple Music -- last summer.


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