Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi’s widow Judy Belushi have teamed with Bento Box Entertainment (Bob’s Burgers) for The Blues Brothers, a primetime animated comedy series, which will be shopped it to television platforms beginning this month.
Co-created and executive produced by original Blues Brother Aykroyd, Judy Belushi and Emmy-winning original Saturday Night Live writer Anne Beatts, the series will chronicle the music, mayhem and comedy adventures of Jake and Elwood Blues, along with the characters within their master blues band. The boys take their act on the road and back to that same old place, sweet home Chicago. Music will be a main character in the new series. Each episode will feature a score and soundtrack curated with the soul, blues and R&B classics and hits performed by the Blues Brothers, as well as new performances recorded specifically for the show.
“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,” Aykroyd said.
Aykroyd and Judy Belushi had been looking to mount a Blues Brothers animated series for a decade. In 1997, they licensed the rights to Film Roman (The Simpsons) for an animated series created by David Misch, which was slated for a fall 1998 launch on UPN but never aired. Aykroyd and Judy Belushi began pitching a second Blues Brothers animated primetime series to networks in 2011 as part of a larger effort to rebuild the Blues Brothers franchise with projects in a number of areas.
Aykroyd, Belushi and Beatts brought the current animated incarnation to Bento Box Entertainment where the three will be joined as executive producers by Bento Box’s Scott Greenberg and Joel Kuwahara; Rehab Entertainment’s John W. Hyde and Blues Brothers’ manager Eric Gardner.
“It is such a privilege for us to be able to produce the work of the very same people who played such an instrumental role in creating one of the most iconic, multi-faceted comedy and music brands of all time,” Greenberg said. “Now we all have the rare opportunity to translate the timeless comic genius of Dan and John from live-action to animation, while offering an entirely new generation of Blues Brothers fans the chance to appreciate them.”
After debuting as the musical guests in a 1978 Saturday Night Live episode hosted by Steve Martin, Martin asked the duo to serve as the opening act at his upcoming show at the Universal Amphitheater. This led to an Atlantic Records recording contract and the hiring of then-SNL piano man Paul Shaffer as musical director. Together, the trio selected the band; Stax recording stars Steve Cropper and Donald “Duck “ Dunn, blues legend Matt “Guitar” Murphy and drummer Steve Jordan became the backbone of the band.
The Blues Brothers embarked on a sold-out national tour that same summer. Their debut album, “Briefcase Full of Blues,” recorded live on that tour, sold more than 3.5 million copies. In 1980, the John Landis-directed film, The Blues Brothers hit theaters, grossing more than $100 million worldwide. 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 Gardner, with a mission to give aspiring blues artists a home and a global voice.
Bento Box is repped by WME and Ziffren Brittenham.