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Netflix brings on the tunes with new Motown and Beatles toons

Netflix has picked up a Motown-inspired original animated series from creator Josh Wakely, whose Beatles-inspired Beat Bugs was also renewed for a second season.
July 28, 2016

Netflix has greenlit an original Motown-inspired animated series from Josh Wakely—principal partner at Australia’s Grace: A Storytelling Company—while simultaneously renewing the writer/director’s upcoming musical series Beat Bugs (pictured) for a second season.

Aimed at kids and set in the imaginary city of Motown, the new untitled project will focus on the life of a funny, shy eight-year-old boy named Ben who learns he has a magical ability that can bring street art to life.

Using inspiration from classic Motown songs, Ben, his best friends and a vibrant group of street art characters band together to make their city a more creative place.

With each episode featuring a hit Motown song performed by a contemporary artist, Wakely has tapped the talents of acclaimed recording artist and songwriter Smokey Robinson to serve as the show’s executive music producer.

Fifty-two iconic Motown songs including “ABC,” “My Girl,” “Please Mr. Postman,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” and “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” will be featured.

For Wakely’s other music-themed series, Beat Bugs, Netflix has renewed the Beatles-inspired program for a second season, which will be available to stream worldwide on November 18.

The 13-episode first season of the co-pro from Netflix, Beyond Screen Production, Grace: A Storytelling Company and Thunderbird is set to debut globally on August 3except in Australia, where Netflix members will be able to watch both seasons after they premiere on Seven Network.

Seven new artists including Rod Stewart, Jennifer Hudson, Robbie Williams and The Lumineers have also been announced to sing Beatles songs in Beat Bugs season one and two.

In addition, Republic Records will launch a day-and-date official soundtrack for Beat Bugs‘ first season exclusively on Apple Music.

Prior to the show’s premiere, the first soundtrack plus a compilation album of songs from both seasons will hit all major retailers on November 4.

In other Netflix news, actress and early childhood development advocate Jennifer Garner (Mother’s DayAlexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) has signed on to voice the character of Mama Llama for the recently announced Netflix original animated preschool series Llama Llama.

Produced by Genius Brands International, the show will make its Netflix worldwide premiere next year.

Finally, Netflix original live-action tween series Greenhouse Academy (formerly The Greenhouse) from showrunner Giora Chamizer has announced its cast, which will include Jessica Amlee, Cinthya Carmona, Nadine Ellis, Reina Hardesty and Dallas Hart.

Ananey Communications subsidiary Nutz Productions is producing the series, which will launch in 2017.

About The Author
Jeremy is the Features Editor of Kidscreen specializing in the content production, broadcasting and distribution aspects of the global children's entertainment industry. Contact Jeremy at jdickson@brunico.com.

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