|Country of origin||Canada|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||14|
|Executive producer(s)||Scott Borchetta|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Insight Productions|
Sony Pictures Television
|Picture format||720p (HDTV)|
|Original release||January 10, 2018 –|
Each episode of the series follows five emerging musicians competing for a chance to have a debut single released commercially. The series was described by its executive producer and lead mentor, Scott Borchetta, as being a contrast to other music competition formats such as American Idol, by being formatted as a self-contained program (rather than a long-term competition with viewer voting), and emphasizing the work of record producers in tailoring new songs to the prospective performers. The series also leverages the platforms of CTV's parent company Bell Media, including its radio stations, in order to promote its winners.
The series was renewed for a second season, and Bell sold international format rights to Sony Pictures Television.
In February 2017, Bell Media announced that it had partnered with Scott Borchetta, a record executive best known for developing Taylor Swift, to develop a new, international television format that would "uncover, develop, and promote pop culture's next musical superstars", and "leverage Bell Media's massive reach and extensive platforms to showcase musicians on the national and international stage." Bell Media officially announced the new series, The Launch, in April 2017, with a six-episode order for CTV to air in 2018. The season 1 order was later expanded with a follow-up episode focusing on the six winners.
In an interview with the Toronto Star, Borchetta contrasted The Launch to other reality music competition series such as American Idol (where he mentored during its fourteenth season) and The Voice, by emphasizing its focus on a song itself rather than just performers. He explained that "going 20-plus weeks seeing who gets voted in as the winner, then trying to figure out the song and producer, it just felt like we can do a better job with that much attention and that many sets of ears and eyes paying attention to the show."
Borchetta added that record producers had "a lot of great songs that just haven't had the right opportunity", such as Stephan Moccio, who supplied a song he had worked on whilst working on the soundtrack for Fifty Shades of Grey. Bell Media president and former Universal Music Canada head Randy Lennox (who has previously worked with Borchetta) described the pace of the format, where producers are given 48 hours to work with the two candidate musicians to record their debut single, as being "star-making machinery meets Kiefer Sutherland 24". The winners' songs receive additional production work in between the completion of episode production and their public release.
Over 10,000 applications were received for the first season; Borchetta explained that Canada had a large pool of untapped musical talent because there were no "opportunities" to kickstart their careers (unlike the U.S., whose talent had, in his opinion, been "gone through over and over again" by competing programs), and noted that there was a sense of pride over domestic artists. He emphasized that the series "isn't about somebody that has never performed before getting a record deal; this is about an artist who's ready and just needs this big break. This is the big break." Bell Media's vertical integration is leveraged as an aspect of the series; the winning songs are featured on Bell Media Radio stations and the division's iHeartRadio service, and the series is also covered as part of other CTV programs.
On February 22, 2018, Bell Media sold international rights to the format to Sony Pictures Television; the company began to sell the first season of the Canadian version, and develop a British version through its production house Electric Ray. In May 2018, CTV announced that The Launch had been renewed for a second season.
During each episode, five musical acts audition for a panel of mentors (although due to time constraints, not all of the contestants are featured in the episode as broadcast on television). Two of the acts are selected to advance to the second phase of the competition, where they are given 48 hours to record their own versions of an original song, working with producers to adapt the song to suit their individual style. The contestants must also perform their versions of the song in front of a live audience. After judging the recording and live performance, the mentors and Borchetta select a winner, whose song is "launched" through digital music services and stores after the airing of the episode.
|No.||Title||Original air date||Canada viewers|
|1||"The Lucky Ones"||January 10, 2018||1.14|
|Shania Twain mentors The Revel Boys, Logan Staats, Havelin, Julia Tomlinson, and Vivian Hicks to select a musician to record and release "The Lucky Ones", a song written by Busbee and Bebe Rexha. The competition was won by Logan Staats, a Mohawk resident of the Six Nations of the Grand River.|
|2||"Ain't Easy"||January 17, 2018||N/A|
|Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland and Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic mentor Basil Phoenix, JP Maurice, Liteyears, Divine Lightbody, and Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, to select a musician to record and release "Ain't Easy", a song written by Tedder, Zack Skelton and Camila Cabello. The competition was won by Elijah Woods and Jamie Fine, a duo originating from Ottawa and outside of Perth, Ontario, which had begun to perform together after meeting each other at the Algonquin College.|
|3||"Wide Awake"||January 24, 2018||N/A|
|Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe and musician and producer Dann Huff mentor Amy Bishop, Dylan Menzie, The Static Shift, Chad Price, and Sons of Daughters, to select a musician to record and release "Wide Awake", a song written by Nathan Barlowe and Bonnie J. Baker. The competition was won by The Static Shift, a Calgary-based rock trio made up of Mitchell Brady (guitar / lead vocals), Keone Friesen (bass / harmonica) and Isaiah Stonehouse (drums / background vocals).|
|4||"Soldier of Love"||January 31, 2018||N/A|
|Fergie of The Black Eyed Peas and songwriter, musician and producer Stephan Moccio mentor Ezra Jordan, Faiza, Sariyah Hines, POESY, and Jaryd Stanley, to select a musician to record and release "Soldier of Love", a song written by Stephan Moccio, Lindy Robbins and produced by Stephan Moccio. The competition was won by POESY, a singer from Ancaster, Ontario.|
|5||"Codes"||February 7, 2018||N/A|
|Singer Julia Michaels and record producer Ian Kirkpatrick mentor James Marshall, Jayd Ink, Nicky Mackenzie, Noelle Maracle and Zack Lane, to select a musician to record and release "Codes", a song written by Meghan Kabir, Bryan Fryzel, Ferras Alqaisi, Kerr Ann Janeen Thompson and produced by Ian Kirkpatrick. The competition was won by Jayd Ink, a singer from Toronto, Ontario.|
|6||"Giants"||February 14, 2018||N/A|
|Singer Boy George and record producer Stephan Moccio mentor Elequen, Ethan Young, Grace Bakker, Raymond Salgado and Victoria Azevedo, to select a musician to record and release "Giants", a song written by Stephan Moccio and Talay Riley and produced by Stephan Moccio. The competition was won by Ethan Young, a singer from Toronto, Ontario.|
|7||"Just Launched"||February 21, 2018||N/A|
|A follow-up episode, focusing on the aftermath of the six winners of Season 1.|
Montreal Gazette media writer Steve Faguy gave the series premiere a positive review. He noted that The Launch's contrasting format to viewer-voted music competitions, as well as its focus on the production process of music, would make it appeal to viewers interested in a show focusing on artists and music. He felt that the contributions of Borchetta and other expert mentors gave the program authenticity, but that Borchetta was "stiff" as an on-camera personality. However, Faguy was critical of the premiere's featured song, "The Lucky Ones", describing it as being "catchy" but written "by committee", with "uninspiring" lyrics and "a melody that doesn't really set it apart from anything else you'll hear on Virgin Radio." He also criticized the decision to cut auditions from the airing episode for time constraints (although Bell defended the decision by noting that these contestants were still able to participate in promotion for the series, would be featured in supplemental digital content posted on the CTV website and YouTube, and that "director's cut" versions of each episode would be made available for streaming on CraveTV after their CTV broadcast). In conclusion, Faguy felt that The Launch "has some potential as a format that could be exportable elsewhere, despite its flaws."
"The Lucky Ones", the featured song in its series premiere, reached #1 on the iTunes Store sales chart in Canada following the episode's broadcast. "Ain't Easy" was the most successful song of the first season, reaching a Music Canada Platinum certification and being the only one to chart on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100.
- 2018: The Launch EP
|Year||Title||Performer||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|CAN||CAN AC||CAN CHR||CAN HAC||CAN Rock|
|2018||"The Lucky Ones"||Logan Staats||—||18
|"Ain't Easy"||Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine||38
|"Wide Awake"||The Static Shift||—||—||—||—||22
|"Soldier of Love"||POESY||—||27
|"—" denotes a single that failed to chart or was not released to that format.|
- "Scott Borchetta's Big Machine, Canada's Bell Media Ring Up Deal on New TV Talent Property". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
- "CTV Unveils THE LAUNCH, A New Six-Part Original Music Series and International TV Format - Casting for the Next Big Breakout Artist Open Now!". Bell Media. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
- Yeo, Debra (2018-01-10). "New singing competition The Launch takes off on CTV". The Toronto Star. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
- "He's bringing Mohawk back: Musician Logan Staats wins first episode of CTV's The Launch". CBC Radio. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
- Clarke, Stewart (2018-02-22). "Sony Prepares 'The Launch' for International Take Off". Variety. Retrieved 2018-03-13.
- "CTV's The Launch returning for Season 2". Toronto Sun. 2018-05-07. Retrieved 2018-10-10.
- Angermiller, Michele Amabile (2018-01-13). "Canadian Singing Competition 'The Launch' Sees Out-the-Gate Success on iTunes". Variety. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
- Faguy, Steve (2018-01-12). "Review: CTV's The Launch is an interesting concept with some implementation issues". Retrieved 2018-01-23.
- "Top Programs – Total Canada (English) January 8 - January 14, 2018" (PDF). Numeris. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
- "Ottawa pop duo wins CTV's The Launch". Ottawa Citizen. 2018-01-18. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
- Allison Bowsher (1 February 2018). "The Launch just showed us the stunning evolution of new artist POESY". The Loop. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
- Dauphin, Chuck (May 22, 2018). "Scott Borchetta on TV Series 'The Launch': 'It's Made Me Sharpen My A&R Skills'". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- Yeo, Debra (May 7, 2018). "Casting is now open for Season 2 of CTV's The Launch". Toronto Star. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- "Chart Search (Logan Staats "The Lucky Ones")". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- "Elijah Woods X Jamie Fine Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- "Elijah Woods X Jamie Fine Chart History (Canada AC)". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- "Elijah Woods X Jamie Fine Chart History (Canada CHR/Top 40)". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- "Elijah Woods X Jamie Fine Chart History (Canada Hot AC)". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- "Canadian single certifications – Elijah Woods X Jamie Fine – Ain't Easy". Music Canada. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- "Chart Search (The Static Shift "Wide Awake")". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- "Chart Search (POESY "Soldier of Love")". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- "Chart Search (Jayd Ink "Codes")". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
- "Chart Search (Ethan Young "Giants")". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2018.