Back in 1997, the former broadcast network UPN ordered an animated primetime TV version of The Blues Brothers, voiced by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi’s brothers Peter and Jim, but canceled the series before airing any of the eight episodes they made.
In 2011, Aykroyd, Belushi’s widow Judy, and former SNL writer Annie Beatts worked up a new TV pilot script that would have introduced a new Jake and Elwood to audiences, with Aykroyd instead playing the duo’s parole officer.
Third time’s the charm?
This week, the official Blues Brothers site announced a new partnership with Bento Box Entertainment (the studio that animates Bob’s Burgers on FOX), again co-created and executive produced by Aykroyd, Belushi and Beatts, to remake The Blues Brothers as an animated comedy series. They’re shopping the project now.
From their own description:
“The series chronicles the music, mayhem and comedy adventures of Jake and Elwood Blues, along with the characters within their master blues band. Join the journey as 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.”
“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.”
The Blues Brothers debuted as musical guests on Saturday Night Live in 1978 on an episode hosted by Steve Martin, then went on to open for Martin at his stand-up comedy show at the Universal Amphitheater. That led to a record contract, a national tour, a live album from the tour that sold more than 3.5 million copies, and their hit film in 1980.
After John Belushi died in 1982, Aykroyd and Judy Belushi co-founded The House of Blues franchise a decade later. Blues Brothers 2000 hit big screens in 1998. Aykroyd has hosted his nationally syndicated radio show, recently rebranded “The Bluesmobile Radio Hour,” for the past 25 years, and he continues to perform as the Blues Brothers with Jim Belushi.