Blues Brothers Prime-Time Animated Series in the Works

The Blues Brothers 2016

Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi in The Blues Brothers.  

Break out the Wayfarers: Jake and Elwood are back on a mission from God. The Blues Brothers are headed to prime-time television in a new animated series being developed and produced by Bento Box Entertainment with the highest of blessings.

The show comes from co-creators Dan Aykroyd, Judy Belushi (widow of John Belushi) and Emmy-winning original Saturday Night Live writer Anne Beatts, all of whom will also co-executive produce.

Not surprisingly, music will figure prominently in the series. Each episode will feature a score and soundtrack curated with soul, blues and R&B classics performed by the original Blues Brothers, plus new performances recorded specifically for the show. Although Bento Box isn't yet sharing details, the studio says the series will highlight guest appearances from "aspiring talent, treasured blues legends and superstars from today's music world."

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Universal Music Group recently announced the formation of Blues Brothers Records, a joint venture between Don Was' Blue Note label and Aykroyd, Judy Belushi and Blues Brothers manager Eric Gardner, with a mission to give aspiring blues artists a global voice.

Bento Box -- purveyors of such young adult-targeted fare as Bob's Burgers on Fox and Comedy Central's Legends of Chamberlin -- is shopping the series to television and other distribution platforms. The action will again center on the boys' antics in sweet home Chicago and on the road.

"It's so great to accelerate Jake and Elwood at digital speed into the 21st century," Aykroyd says. "The show will be the Blues Brothers living in America and utilizing all new technology to make and promote their own records, seek out and record new artists and avoid law enforcement -- and all while fighting for truth, justice and a better breakfast sandwich."

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The new show is standing on broad shoulders. After debuting as musical guests in a 1978 Saturday Night Live episode, Steve Martin asked Aykroyd and John Belushi to serve as the opening act at his upcoming show at the Universal Amphitheater. An Atlantic Records recording contract soon followed, as did the hiring of then-SNL piano man Paul Shaffer as musical director. Also joining the band were Stax recording artists Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck " Dunn, blues legend Matt "Guitar" Murphy and drummer Steve Jordan. The trademark big horn sound came courtesy of Tom Scott and New York horn masters Tom Malone, Lou Marini and Al Rubin.

The Blues Brothers band embarked on a sold-out national tour in '78 and their live debut album, "Briefcase Full of Blues," sold more than 3.5 million copies. In 1980, the John Landis-directed film The Blues Brothers grossed more than $100 million worldwide.

Aykroyd and Judy Belushi in 1992 co-founded the House of Blues with Hard Rock Cafe founder Issac Tigrett; the franchise grew to a dozen venues across the country before being sold to Live Nation in 2006. Aykroyd has hosted his nationally syndicated radio show, recently rebranded The Bluesmobile Radio Hour, for the past 25 years, and continues to perform as the Blues Brothers with John's brother, Jim Belushi.


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