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CTV looks to take “The Launch” outside of Canada

Bell Media's SVP of content and programming Mike Cosentino talks about prepping the format for an international rollout and filling mid-season time slots.
September 1, 2017

Production is underway on CTV’s original series The Launch, with six hour-long episodes set to shoot in Toronto during September and October.

The format pairs unsigned Canadian musicians and artists with industry heavy-weights with the goal of creating an original song, and potential hit, over the course of two days. The first group of mentors for the hour-long show are Black Eye Peas’ Fergie Duhamel, OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder and music mogul Scott Borchetta (who discovered artists such as Taylor Swift). More mentors will be announced at a later date. Thirty emerging artists were selected to take part in the show, after more than 10,000 applications and auditions were reviewed. The show is set to debut early next year on CTV. 

The show was developed by Bell Media and Borchetta’s Big Machine Label Group and is produced by Bell Media, Big Machine and California-based Eureka, in partnership with Toronto’s Insight Productions.

Mike Cosentino, Bell Media’s SVP of content and programming told realscreen’s sister publication Playback Daily the format fits into Bell Media’s mandate to create shows that can expand the media co’s programming beyond Canadian borders. “We think that there is an opportunity for this format beyond Canada,” said Cosentino, with Bell Media currently working with partners to ready the series for an international sales launch at upcoming TV markets.”

In terms of target demographic, Cosentino said The Launch will appeal to a slightly female-skewing 18-to-49 year-old audience. He added that, depending on the mentors featured in specific episodes, the audience may skew a little younger (18-to-34) or older (25-to-54).

Short-run shows like The Launch are an important aspect of CTV’s strategy for mid-season programming, he added. “For CTV, we are very attracted to the six-to-10-episode, mid-season series that allow us to schedule in a way that fills some very important time slots between January and May. So while we’re not necessarily focused on the music genre specifically, I think we felt there was a vacuum and an opportunity in this instance.”

Executive producers on the project are Borchetta, Bell Media president Randy Lennox, Insight CEO John Brunton and Eureka founder Paul Franklin. Franklin and Insight’s Lindsay Cox also serve as showrunners and exec producers.

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