Bento Box Entertainment will develop and produce “The Blues Brothers” as a new primetime animated comedy series with Dan Aykroyd attached as co-creator and executive producer, the company announced Tuesday
Along with Aykroyd, John Belushi‘s widow, Judy, and Emmy Award-winning original “Saturday Night Live” writer Anne Beatts will serve as co-creators and executive producers on the project.
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.
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 like “Bob’s Burgers.” Bento Box’s Scott Greenberg and Joel Kuwahara, Rehab Entertainment’s John W. Hyde and Blues Brothers’ manager Eric Gardner will also executive produce.
“It’s so great to accelerate Jake and Elwood at digital speed into the 21st Century via the outstanding creative group at Bento Box,” Aykroyd said. “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 (Elwood) and partner John Belushi (Jake) 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 horns: Tom Malone, Lou Marini and Al Rubin.
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 death in 1982, 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.
Bento Box plans to shop “The Blues Brothers” to television platforms starting in May. The company is represented by WME and Ziffren Brittenham.