Australian writer/ producer Josh Wakely has had a second season of animated kid’s series Beat Bugs, with the music of The Beatles, renewed by Seven / Netflix -and is expanding his portfolio to the Motown music library for Netflix.
Wakely, who studied acting at the WA Academy of Performing Arts, secured the rights to the Lennon / McCartney library through Northern Songs for Beat Bugs. The first season, which has just premiered on 7TWO will have a global playout on Netflix in August (Presto in Oz). With music produced by Silverchair’s Daniel Johns, it has a star vocal cast including P!nk, Sia, The Shins, Of Monsters and Men, Chris Cornell, Regina Spektor and James Corden.
A second season will see Aloe Blacc, Robbie Williams, Frances and Wesley Schultz (of the Lumineers), Rod Stewart, Jennifer Hudson and Tori Kelly add star-power.
Together with Beyond, Wakley’s Grace: A Storytelling Company will also produce a new animated kids series drawing upon the Motown catalogue for Netflix, with Smokey Robinson as Executive Music Producer.
The untitled Motown project revolves around the adventures of a shy eight year old boy named Ben with an extraordinary artistic ability to bring street-art to life. Ben and his family live in the imaginary city of Motown, based on Detroit and its rich musical heritage.
“I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful new series that will embrace the magic of Motown and present our songs to a whole new generation of fans and their entire families. I’m so impressed with Josh’s creative vision for the series and can’t wait to play my part in bringing it to the world,” said Robinson.
“Josh and his team have done another incredible job of interweaving iconic songs with compelling narratives from which children can learn and grow, and that families can enjoy together,” said Andy Yeatman, Director of Original Kids Content at Netflix. “We look for storytellers that can take on the responsibility of creating the content that the next generation of kids will bond over and love, and this project speaks perfectly to that goal.”
“Having been raised on the music of Motown, I am very grateful to have been entrusted with these songs as I draw inspiration from the stories and characters found within them,” said Josh Wakely. “Considering the talent we have on board paired with the Netflix global platform, our goal is to create something extraordinary that can be enjoyed across generations.”