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Bento Box Prepping ‘Blues Brothers’ Primetime Animated Series

Producers of ‘Bob’s Burgers’ to develop and produce ‘The Blues Brothers’ animated series with Dan Aykroyd, Judy Belushi and ‘SNL’ writer Anne Beatts.

LOS ANGELES -- Bento Box Entertainment (BBE), has announced it will develop and produce The Blues Brothers as a new primetime animated comedy series. The project comes from Co-Creators and Executive Producers Dan Aykroyd, Judy Belushi and multiple Emmy Award-winning original Saturday Night Live writer Anne Beatts.

Bento Box plans to shop The Blues Brothers to television platforms starting in May. The series chronicles 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. As Elwood Blues, in announcer mode, has oft said of the Blues Brothers, “And now, ladies and gentlemen, living history is going to be made.”

Music will also be a main character within 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 original legendary musicians, the Blues Brothers, as well as new performances recorded specifically for the show. The series will also highlight special guest appearances from aspiring talent, treasured Blues legends and superstars from today’s music world.  

Aykroyd, Belushi and Beatts brought the project to Bento Box Entertainment, the studio best known for producing young adult-targeted primetime animated series for television and other platforms worldwide. They 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.”

Aykroyd commented, "It's so great to accelerate Jake and Elwood at digital speed into the 21st Century via the outstanding creative group at Bento Box. 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.”

After debuting as the musical guests in a 1978 Saturday Night Live episode hosted by Steve Martin, Martin asked Aykroyd and John Belushi to serve as the opening act at his upcoming show at the Universal Amphitheater. This set in motion a series of events that led to an Atlantic Records recording contract and the hiring of then-SNL piano man Paul Shaffer as musical director. Together, the trio painstakingly selected the perfect band to create the sound they wanted; Stax recording stars Steve Cropper and Donald “Duck” Dunn, blues legend Matt “Guitar” Murphy and drummer extraordinaire Steve Jordan became the backbone of the band. For that big horn sound, they turned to the multi-talented Tom Scott and three of the top NYC horns: Tom Malone, Lou Marini and Al Rubin. 

Band in tow, 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. Following Belushi’s 1982 passing, Aykroyd was determined to keep the Blues Brothers’ spirit alive. In 1992, he and Judy Belushi co-founded The House of Blues franchise with Hard Rock Cafe founder Issac Tigrett, which 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. The sequel to the original film, Blues Brothers 2000, was released in 1998, and Aykroyd continues to perform as the Blues Brothers with John’s brother, Jim Belushi (Zee). 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 represented at WME by Greg Hodes and at Ziffren Brittenham by Ken Ziffren.

Source: Bento Box Entertainment

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