The Blues Brothers are back! And this time, Jake Blues lives! Yes, Blues Brothers originator Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi’s widow Judy have teamed up with Bento Box Entertainment (the company behind Bob’s Burgers) for a new half-hour animated prime time comedy adventure series, which will be shopped to various TV networks starting this month. Maybe most exciting is the fact that the music in the show will take precedence over the action and comedy.
The Blues Brothers series was co-created and will be executive produced by original Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd, Judy Belushi and Emmy-winning original Saturday Night Live writer Anne Beatts. Each half-hour will be devoted to the music, mayhem and comedy first seen in the original 1980 movie and its 1998 sequel. Jake and Elwood Blues will reunite with their infamous Blues Brothers band, taking their act on the road. Their home base will still be Chicago, with soul, blues and R&B classics the backbone of the narrative. Music is described as the third main character in the animated comedy according to Deadline.
Each episode will feature its own score and soundtrack curated with iconic classics and original Blues Brothers numbers. And the show will have all-new performances recorded by the original Blues Brothers band along with various guest musicians and performers. Says Dan Aykroyd.
“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.”
The Blues Brothers animated series has been in the works for over a decade. Back in 1997, Dan and Judy licensed the rights to Film Roman, the company behind The Simpsons, for an animated sitcom created by David Misch. It was slated to premiere in the fall of 1998 on UPN, but it never made it to air. It isn’t known how many episodes were produced.
In 2011, Aykroyd and Belushi began once again pitching the show to various networks in an attempt to rebuild The Blues Brothers franchise. There were also a number of other related projects said to be in the works at the time. 5 years later, the show is now at Bento Box Entertainment, where it will also be executive produced by Bento Box’s Scott Greenberg and Joel Kuwahara, Rehab Entertainment’s John W. Hyde and Blues Brothers’ manager Eric Gardner. Says Greenberg about the project.
“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. 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.”
The Blues Brothers made their debut on Saturday Night Live way back in 1978. Steve Martin later asked the duo to be his opening act at a Universal Amphitheater show. This lead to an Atlantic Records recording contract and the classic first movie. The band consisting of Stax recording stars Steve Cropper and Donald “Duck ” Dunn, blues legend Matt “Guitar” Murphy and drummer Steve Jordan joined Aykroyd and Belushi for a sold-out nationwide tour that same summer. They released the first movie in 1980, which earned over $100 million worldwide.
At this time, it isn’t known when The Blues Brothers animated series may make its debut. Nor is it known who else will be on board for the voice roles. While Aykroyd will likely reprise his role as Elwood, it isn’t known who will take over for Jake. John Belushi’s brother James Belushi stepped in to take on the role of “Brother” Zee Blues, with John Goodman taking on the role of “Mighty” Mack McTeer in both the sequel and on stage. This will be the first time that another actor has taken on the role of Jake Blues in any official capacity since Belushi played him in the 1980 movie.