Bell Media sets the stage for The Launch

The singing competition, which will return for a second season in early 2019, has added Sarah McLachlan as a celebrity mentor.

SarahMclachlan - cropProduction is set to start next week in Toronto on Bell Media’s singing competition format, The Launch.

The six-episode, hour-long second season will film at CBC’s in-house production studios.

Announced last April, the show sees unsigned artists audition for the opportunity to create and record a new original song with the help of an established singer or producer.

Produced by Bell Media, Big Machine Label Group and California-based Eureka, in partnership with Toronto’s Insight Productions, exec producers include Bell Media president Randy Lennox, Big Machine Label Group’s Scott Borchetta, Insight Productions’ John Brunton and Lindsay Cox, Eureka’s Paul Franklin and Bell Media’s Robin Johnston and Corrie Coe.

Season two is set to debut on CTV and VRAK in early 2019. Bell Media announced that new episodes of the show will feature a reduced commercial time. Instead, the broadcaster is offering 30-second custom advertising slots, featuring one advertiser per break.

Celebrity mentors set for this season include Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan (pictured) and Juno award-winning Arkells frontman Max Kerman. American Ryan Tedder from OneRepublic will also return.

In addition, Quebec pop icon Marie-Mai has been added as a permanent mentor for the competition format’s weekly celebrity panel, along with Borchetta. eTalk reporter Liz Trinnear will host the new season.

Season one of the show (6 x 60 minutes) premiered in January and earned an average 2+ audience of 1.14 million viewers across CTV, CTV Two, Much, VRAK and Canal Vie. In May, Bell Media confirmed the series would return for a second season.

Earlier this year, Bell Media and Big Machine Label Group secured an international distribution deal for the format with Sony Pictures Television (SPT).

Through the deal, SPT signed on to distribute the singing competition format and the original Canadian series worldwide (excluding Canada), with SPT’s London, U.K.-based prodco Electric Ray set to produce the format for the U.K. The agreement marked the first time a Bell Media original format for CTV had been sold for international distribution.