Sony Pictures Television (SPT) has signed a worldwide distribution deal, excluding Canada, for the music television format The Launch, a partnership between Canadian media giant Bell Media and American music exec Scott Borchetta‘s Big Machine Label Group.
Conceived by Borchetta, the show is a close-ended music TV talent search series that concludes each episode with the winning artist releasing a professionally written single to radio across Canada.
“We are delighted to have The Launch as our first acquisition under our newly formed Future Formats Team,” Sarah Edwards, creative director of global formats, Sony Pictures Television, said in a statement. “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.”
The weekly Canadian series, which debuted in January on Bell property CTV, just aired its final episode of the inaugural season in Canada. According to Bell Media — which owns 215 music channels including 105 licensed radio stations, part of the iHeartRadio brand and streaming service — the original songs achieved “consecutive No. 1 hits” and accumulated more than 4 million streams worldwide.
It’s the first time a Bell Media original television format for CTV has been sold for international distribution. Sony Pictures Television’s production company Electric Ray will produce the format in the U.K. and will also distribute the Canadian series for sale outside of Canada.
Among the mentors on the Canadian series were Fergie, Shania Twain, Alessia Cara, Boy George, Mötley Crüe‘s Nikki Sixx, Julia Michaels, Jennifer Nettles and Ryan Tedder. Borchetta was the constant on the show, alongside the guest judges.
“With Sony now on board, this is another huge milestone to the already resounding success The Launch has received for its inaugural season,” Bell Media president Randy Lennox said in a statement. “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.”
The Launch was co-created by Borchetta in association with Lennox and Bell Media, and Paul Franklin of Eureka (Masterchef, The Biggest Loser), in partnership with John Brunton and Lindsay Cox of Insight Productions.
“Season 1 of CTV’s The Launch exceeded our wildest expectations!” said Borchetta in a statement. “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.”