TORONTO, LOS ANGELES & NASHVILLE (February 22, 2018) – Bell Media, Big Machine Label Group (BMLG), and Sony Pictures Television (SPT) announced today that SPT has secured international distribution rights to the new music TV format THE LAUNCH. As Bell Media and BMLG’s exclusive partner, SPT will distribute THE LAUNCH format worldwide, excluding Canada, and has its production company, Electric Ray, on board to produce the format in the U.K. The historic deal represents the first time a Bell Media original television format for CTV has been sold for international distribution. In addition, SPT will also distribute the Canadian series, which wrapped up its inaugural season on CTV last night, for sale outside of Canada.
In Canada, the inaugural season of THE LAUNCH debuted No. 1 in its timeslot on CTV and delivered a series of consecutive No. 1 hits. The series’ original songs have already surpassed 4 million streams worldwide and continue to grow.
Reinventing the music competition series genre, THE LAUNCH debuts a new and unique format, documenting an authentic, behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to break a new artist and bring a song to life. In each stand-alone episode, unsigned emerging artists audition for the opportunity to learn, record and perform a new original song, mentored by a panel of internationally renowned music industry legends.
The mentors then decide which version of the song is released on all platforms immediately following the broadcast of the episode – ultimately deciding in that moment whose career will soar – from discovery to stardom in just 48 hours and all in the span of one episode!
“We are delighted to have THE LAUNCH as our first acquisition under our newly formed Future Formats Team,” said Sarah Edwards, Creative Director of Global Formats, Sony Pictures Television. “As soon as we saw it we knew it was the music talent show we had been looking for. It is a unique and authentic look into what it takes to be a successful performer and recording artist in today’s music business and we are confident that audiences around the world will embrace it.”
“With Sony now on board, this is another huge milestone to the already resounding success THE LAUNCH has received for its inaugural season,” said Randy Lennox, President, Bell Media. “This partnership reconfirms Bell Media’s commitment to producing high-calibre and innovative programming and a new TV format that we are sure will resonate with viewers around the world.”
“Season 1 of CTV’s THE LAUNCH exceeded our wildest expectations!” said Scott Borchetta, Founder, President, and CEO of the Big Machine Label Group. “We are fired up to announce a worldwide format agreement with Sony Pictures Entertainment. Wow! I’m so grateful to Randy Lennox and all at Bell Media for sharing THE LAUNCH vision from the onset and I’m beyond thrilled to see the format earning the opportunity to travel the world with SPT. The goal from the beginning was to give artists a real-life and real-time opportunity like no other and we appear to have achieved that goal. A huge thanks to all of our Season 1 superstar producers and mentors, our great artists, and the millions of fans who tuned in.”
Based on a concept by Scott Borchetta of Big Machine Label Group, THE LAUNCH was co-created by Borchetta in association with Randy Lennox and Bell Media, and Paul Franklin of Eureka (MASTERCHEF, THE BIGGEST LOSER), in partnership with John Brunton and Lindsay Cox of Insight Productions.
A staggering roster of musical A-listers joined Borchetta as mentors in the Canadian version of THE LAUNCH, including 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 GRAMMY® Award-winning singer and songwriter and international Pop sensation Alessia Cara; Rock icon and founding member of legendary Rock band Mötley Crüe Nikki Sixx; GRAMMY®-nominated Best New Artist of the Year Julia Michaels; and GRAMMY® Award-winner and co-founder of Country-Pop duo Sugarland Jennifer Nettles.
Award-winning producers/songwriters cast alongside Borchetta in the breakout season of THE LAUNCH included OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, busbee (P!nk, Shakira, Blake Shelton), Dann Huff (producer behind more than 50 No. 1 hit records ), GRAMMY®-nominated record producer Ian Kirkpatrick (behind multi-platinum hit songs from Jason Derulo and Selena Gomez), and OSCAR® and GRAMMY® nominated producer Stephan Moccio, the music mastermind behind massive, inescapable hits like the quintuple-platinum “Wrecking Ball”.
With seven episodes in total, each of the first six episodes kicks off with the introduction of a new original song that has been created by a renowned songwriter. Then, each of the five artists audition for the mentors, for the chance of a lifetime: to record that original song.
After deliberating, the mentors choose two of the artists they feel have the most potential and are 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’s showtime: the two artists each perform their rendition of the original song in front of a live audience as the mentors watch their versions of the song come to life, and then determine which song – and artist- will be launched that night.
The season wraps with a seventh and final episode that reveals what happens next to each of the six chosen artists from the moment their song is released, to finding instant fame and through until they join their mentors on the music charts. The episode ends with all six “Launched” alumni meeting for the first time to share their once in a lifetime experiences with one another.
The inaugural edition of THE LAUNCH, created for CTV – Canada’s most-watched private broadcaster, premiered on the network January 11, 2018 with each episode’s song released weekly and leveraging the multiple platforms and resources of Bell Media, Canada’s leading content company, including Bell Media Radio, Canada’s largest radio broadcaster, along with the iHeartRadio Canada app and Bell Media’s stable of leading digital and TV properties. Bell Media’s commitment to the chosen artists continues with major media and promotion the day after the episodes air on flagship Bell Media radio and television properties.
The format and series were introduced to SPT by Jane Rimer, Chief, International Business & Creative Development, Insight Productions.
The Canadian version of THE LAUNCH is executive produced by Scott Borchetta, Randy Lennox and John Brunton; Lindsay Cox and Paul Franklin are Showrunners and Executive Producers; Executive Producers for Bell Media are Robin Johnston and Corrie Coe, who is also Senior Vice-President, Original Programming, Bell Media. Pat DiVittorio is Vice-President, CTV and Specialty Programming, Mike Cosentino is President, Content and Programming, Bell Media. Randy Lennox is President, Bell Media.
ABOUT BIG MACHINE LABEL GROUP (BMLG): Led by Founder, President and CEO Scott Borchetta, the Big Machine Label Group (BMLG) encompasses Big Machine Records, The Valory Music Co., BMLG Records, Nash Icon Records and publishing company Big Machine Music as well as its own digital radio station, Big Machine Radio. BMLG artists include superstars Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Brantley Gilbert, Hank Williams Jr., Ronnie Dunn, Cheap Trick and Jennifer Nettles; chart-topping acts Justin Moore, Eli Young Band, Brett Young, Aaron Lewis, THE VOICE winner Danielle Bradbery; up-and-comers Midland, Carly Pearce, Delta Rae, The Cadillac Three, Drake White, Tucker Beathard, and Tara Thompson. BMLG also helms soundtracks for the hit TV show NASHVILLE. BMLG artists have received multiple GRAMMY, CMA, ACM, AMA, CMT, Teen Choice, MTV, Billboard, People’s Choice, and Brit Awards. Big Machine is the first-ever American label to align with terrestrial radio for performance royalty rights for its artists and is an industry leader in fighting for artist, songwriter, publisher and record company rights. Visit BigMachineLabelGroup.com for more information.
ABOUT SONY PICTURES TELEVISION (SPT): Sony Pictures Television (SPT) is one of the television industry’s leading content providers, producing and distributing programming worldwide in every genre and for every platform. In addition to managing one of the industry’s largest libraries of award-winning feature films, television shows and formats, SPT is home to a thriving global production business operating 21 wholly-owned or joint venture production companies in 12 countries around the world. Sony Pictures Television is a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company.
ABOUT BELL MEDIA: Bell Media is Canada’s leading content creation company with premier assets in television, radio, out-of-home advertising, and digital media. Bell Media owns 30 local television stations led by CTV, Canada’s highest-rated television network; 30 specialty channels, including TSN and RDS, and four pay TV services, including The Movie Network and Super Écran. Bell Media is also Canada’s largest radio broadcaster, with 215 music channels including 105 licensed radio stations in 54 markets across the country, all part of the iHeartRadio brand and streaming service. Bell Media owns Astral, an out-of-home advertising network of more than 30,000 faces in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, and Nova Scotia. Bell Media also operates more than 200 websites; delivers TV Everywhere with its CraveTV and GO video streaming services; operates multi-channel network Much Digital Studios; produces live theatrical shows via its partnership with Iconic Entertainment Studios; and owns Dome Productions Inc., a multi-platform production company. Bell Media is part of BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada’s largest communications company. For more on Bell Media, please visit www.bellmedia.ca.