Scott Borchetta's 'The Launch' Sets Season 2 Debut With Sarah McLachlan and Ryan Tedder Returning as Mentors
The Canadian talent show is exploring distribution options in the U.S. and other territories for season 2.
The second season of The Launch, the Canadian-made unsigned talent search co-created and executive produced by Big Machine Label Group founder/CEO Scott Borchetta in partnership with Canadian media giant Bell Media, debuts Sept. 26 on CTV in Canada and on French-language specialty channel VRAK in early 2019.
Bell Media president Randy Lennox tells Billboard they are "in discussions with several countries, including the U.S." for the show.
Sarah McLachlan, Ryan Tedder and the Arkells frontman Max Kerman, whose band just headlined a stadium in his hometown of Hamilton, Ontario, are the only guest mentors announced to date.
The first season featured Fergie, Shania Twain, Alessia Cara, Boy George, Nikki Sixx, Julia Michaels and Jennifer Nettles as mentors. Borchetta was the one constant.
This season Québec pop icon Marie-Mai, herself a former finalist on the first season of Quebec talent search Star Académie back in 2003 and a coach on the first season of La Voix (The Voice) in 2013, will join the series as a permanent mentor alongside Borchetta.
"Marie-Mai is an amazing artist and performer, and her vast industry know-how will provide a powerful counterpoint to Scott's expertise, bringing a new and engaging dynamic for both artists and viewers," said Lennox in a press statement.
The other change is the addition of entertainment reporter Liz Trinnear from Bell's entertainment news show eTalk, as host. "We also welcome the superb energy that Liz brings as a host as she guides the performers and the audience through the emotional journey of launching new artists and new songs each week," said Lennox.
The casting call to find the unsigned acts to appear on the show started in May. Each episode includes an on-air on-stage audition before the judges, who then select two acts to record an already written song by the established songwriter/producer. Immediately after the broadcast, the winner's single is serviced to Bell Media's radio properties, including iHeartRadio Canada.
Last season yielded a series of No. 1 Canadian hits -- amassing more than 21 million streams internationally to date, according to Bell -- and led to a worldwide distribution deal (excluding Canada) for The Launch with Sony Pictures Television (SPT).
Tedder created the show's biggest hit "Ain't Easy," recorded by Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, who won the iHeartRadio MMVA for best new Canadian artist.
"I'm truly so excited to kick off Season 2 of The Launch," said Borchetta in a statement. "We have great artistic talent from all across Canada, a new permanent second-seat mentor with the amazingly talented Marie-Mai, and we've landed the host with the absolute most, Liz Trinnear. Ryan is coming back and is so fired up about producing another Launch winner, Sarah McLachlan will be amazing to work with as will my new friend Max Kerman."