Formats

Can CTV’s “The Launch” take off internationally?

Randy Lennox lays out his plan to bring the series worldwide through big stars like Shania Twain and Fergie and a responsive format.
September 25, 2017

With a roster of big celebrity names attached (and more to be revealed), Canadian media conglomerate Bell Media is set to take its original music format The Launch to buyers at the 2017 MIPCOM market in Cannes.

Canada’s queen of country pop, Shania Twain, has boarded the series as a mentor, it was announced on Sept. 20, joining international recording artists Fergie and OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, as well as Big Machine Label Group CEO Scott Borchetta.

For Bell Media president Randy Lennox, the stars attached to the six episode, hour-long series will go a long way in helping to sell the show outside of Canada. “We’ve had a great number of really credible international inquiries,” he told realscreen‘s sister publication Playback Daily. “Given the caliber of mentors…we think the format rights will not only be attractive, but the Canadian show itself could travel.”

It’s not just the talent, however, that will give the series legs, he said. Lennox is confident in the show’s “exciting and unique” format. Each episode of The Launch follows an unsigned artist as he or she is mentored in the creation of a new original song over the course of two days. In each episode, a new song is revealed.

The series is designed to be responsive, said Lennox, who added that consumers today are accustomed to having products and information available to them almost instantaneously.

“Everything in the world is happening with such rapidity right now,” he said. “When the episode concludes [the song] will be available on iHeartRadio, it will be on Spotify, and the artist that wins will have an opportunity to be on television shows.”

Bell Media will utilize its radio, TV and digital platforms to help promote the artists and songs as they’re created, said Lennox.

Though American Idol is set to return to airwaves in the 2017/2018 season, and the 13th season The Voice premieres next week, Lennox is confident the world is ready for a different music-based reality series.

“We’re not doing cover songs or karaoke. We’re doing real songs and we’re doing them in front of an audience who are going to be able to see the best producers in the world,” he said. “Not only can [audiences] feel a sense of ownership with each young artist and their trajectory as these artists succeed, they can be there from the very beginning.”

The Launch is currently in production in Toronto and is set to debut in Canada in 2018. The series was co-developed by and is produced in association with Scott Borchetta, Paul Franklin of Eureka, and Bell Media, in partnership with John Brunton and Lindsay Cox of Insight Productions. Executive producers on the series are Borchetta, Lennox and Brunton. Lindsay Cox and Paul Franklin serve as showrunners and exec producers.

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About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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