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Netflix Orders Motown-Themed Animated Series

Netflix has given a series order to an animated kids series set to the soundtrack of classic Motown hits.

The untitled project hails from writer-director Josh Wakely, who is behind Netflix’s toon series “Beat Bugs,” which incorporates the music of the Beatles.

The Motown series will revolve around an 8-year-old boy named Ben, who lives in the city of Motown and discovers he can bring street art to life.

Smokey Robinson, legendary songwriter of many indelible Motown hits, will be an exec producer. The plan is for contemporary artists, under Robinson’s direction, to record 52 songs from the Motown vault that will drive the plot of each episode. The tunes will include signature songs from Robinson’s Miracles, Marvin Gaye, the Jackson 5, Lionel Richie, the Supremes, the Temptations, Stevie Wonder and others.

In addition to “Beat Bugs,” Wakely is developing a live-action series for Amazon and Lionsgate TV that will be driven by songs of Bob Dylan. The Australian writer-director has developed a niche for music-driven programming involving extremely high-profile music libraries.

Netflix has ordered a second season of “Beat Bugs” that will bow Nov. 18.

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