Dan Aykroyd and Judy Belushi, widow of John Belushi, are rebooting The Blues Brothers as a primetime animated series, which they’ll begin to pitch to networks and TV platforms this month, Deadline reports.
Aykroyd and Belushi co-created the series with original Saturday Night Live writer Anne Beatts, while the animation is being handled by Bento Box Entertainment (Bob’s Burgers). Episodes will focus on the adventures of Jake and Elwood Blues and their band, and feature a bevy of soul, blues and R&B hits performed by the Blues Brothers, along with new performances recorded specifically for the show.
The series will also place the Blues Brothers in a contemporary setting and, per Aykroyd, find them “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 and John Belushi first appeared as a proto-version of the Blues Brothers — called “Howard Shore and his All-Bee Band” — on a 1976 episode of Saturday Night Live, then officially debuted during a 1978 episode hosted by Steve Martin. That same year, Aykroyd and Belushi, with the help of then-SNL pianist/arranger Paul Shaffer, cobbled together an impressive band — featuring legendary Stax musicians Steve Cropper and Donald “Duck” Dunn, blues great Matt “Guitar” Murphy and drummer Steve Jordan — and recorded their debut album, Briefcase Full of Blues, during a live date opening for Martin. In 1980, the John Landis-directed film, The Blues Brothers, was released and has since become a comedy classic.
In 1998, Aykroyd notably rebooted the franchise for Blues Brothers 2000, with John Goodman filling in for the late Belushi. A year prior, however, Aykroyd and Judy Belushi began making plans for an animated Blues Brothers series that was set to premiere on UPN fall 1998, but never aired. A second animated series was pitched to networks in 2011, one of several projects Aykroyd and Belushi designed to rebuild the franchise.
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While it remains to be seen if a network will bite on an animated Blues Brothers series this time, Aykroyd and Belushi did embark on a new venture last year: Blues Brothers Records. The new label will nurture and develop blues artists and will be distributed by Capitol Music Group’s famed Blue Note Records.