Smokey Robinson brings Motown toon to Netflix

Kids-logo-460_2netflix hqLegendary musician Smokey Robinson and Netflix are working up an animated series featuring Motown hits from the likes of The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.

Netflix, Robinson, Josh Wakely’s Australia- and US-based prodco Grace: A Storytelling Company and Sydney-based Beyond International’s Beyond Screen Productions have come together for the currently untitled toon.

Netflix already has one pop music-themed toon, the Beatles-inspired Beat Bugs, which was yesterday was given a premiere date (November 18) for its second season.

The Motown series will feature a “fantastical world” Wakely has created, with each episode drawing on classics from Robinson, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, Lionel Richie, The Supremes, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder and others, covered by contemporary artists.

It will follow a loveable but shy reight-year-old boy with extraordinary abilities to being street-art to life, who lives in a city called Motown, which is based on Detroit. Inspired by the words and melodies of the US music genre, he and his friends revive vibrancy to the city by meeting enchanting street characters.

Wakely will direct, showrun and produce the series, after securing rights to the compositions from the Jobete Music Company, and Stone Diamond Music Corporation publishing catalogues in an agreement with song administrator Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

Robinson, who was integral to the establishment of Motown as a major cultural and musical force, is consulting as executive music producer.

“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,” said Robinson. “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.”

“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.”

In related news, Netflix has set a release date of October 21 for its exclusive run of Charlie Brooker’s dystopian drama Black Mirror.

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