On April 20th 2017, CTV announced from Canadian Music Week their commitment to a new, six-part music television series, The Launch ,which would premiere in 2018. The new international television format was the first TV project culminating from the partnership announced earlier between Bell Media and world-renowned record executive Scott Borchetta, founder, president, and CEO of the Big Machine Label Group, whose roster featured international superstars like Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire, Florida Georgia Line, Rascal Flatts, and Thomas Rhett.
Reinventing the music competition genre, The Launch would deliver an authentic behind-the-scenes look at the creation of a series of hit songs. Casting for the series was now open, with production set to begin in Toronto that summer. CTV also announced it had brought on board Eureka Productions’ acclaimed showrunner Paul Franklin, the mastermind behind the MasterChef format, along with Canadian format pros Insight Productions, one of Canada’s preeminent production companies. Insight CEO John Brunton and Insight’s Lindsay Cox would be executive producers, along with Franklin and Borchetta. .Created for markets around the world, The Launch would feature a new and unique format: a group of unsigned musicians would be mentored in the creation of a new original song by a panel of internationally renowned hit makers – including Borchetta.
“The Launch is the centerpiece in our multifaceted partnership with Scott Borchetta and Big Machine,” said Randy Lennox, President, Bell Media. “Together with Eureka Productions’ extraordinarily talented Paul Franklin and the amazing Insight Productions, we have assembled an A-list group of collaborators to deliver an incredibly captivating and entertaining series.”
The Launch would be executive produced by Scott Borchetta, Paul Franklin, and John Brunton and Lindsay Cox, in partnership with Bell Media. Executive producers for Bell Media were Robin Johnston and Corrie Coe who was also Senior Vice-President, Original Programming, Bell Media.
Major musical A-listers joining Borchetta as mentors in the The Launch included international musical icon and reigning “Queen of Country Pop” Shania Twain; Culture Club alumnus and Grammy® Award-winner Boy George; eight-time GRAMMY® Award-winning multi-platinum superstar Fergie; Canadian singer and songwriter and international pop sensation Alessia Cara; rock icon and founding member of legendary rock band Mötley Crüe Nikki Sixx; sought-after songwriter with her own recent hit single “Issues”, Julia Michaels; and Grammy® Award-winner and co-founder of country-pop duo Sugarland Jennifer Nettles.
Award-winning producers/songwriters cast alongside Borchetta on the progam included OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, busbee (P!nk, Shakira, Blake Shelton), Dann Huff (producer behind more than 50 #1 hit records ), Ian Kirkpatrick (behind multi-platinum hit songs from Jason Derulo and Selena Gomez), and Canada’s own Stephan Moccio, the music mastermind behind hits like the quintuple-platinum “Wrecking Ball".
The series premiered on CTV on Wednesday January 10th 2018. With seven episodes in total, each of the first six episodes kicked off with the introduction of a new original song that had been created by a renowned songwriter. Then, each of the five artists auditioned for the mentors, for the chance of a lifetime: to record that original song. After deliberating, the mentors chose two of the artists they felt had the most potential and were the right fit for the original song, working with them over the next 48 hours to shape the song according to their abilities and strengths. And then it was showtime: the two artists each performed their rendition of the original song in front of a live audience as the mentors watched their versions of the song come to life, and then determined which song – and artist - would be launched that night.
The season wrapped with a seventh and final episode that revealed what would happen next to each of the six chosen artists from the moment their song was released, to finding instant fame and through until they joined their mentors on the music charts. The episode ended with all six “Launched” alumni meeting for the first time to share their once in a lifetime experiences with one another.
On May 7th 2018, CTV announced that casting for Season 2 of The Launch was now open. . Production of the CTV series, a new format that garnered an exclusive worldwide distribution deal with Sony Pictures Television (SPT), was set to begin filming once again in Toronto in the fall for the 2018/19 Season.