Fenton Bailey Q&A: ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ producer
“For a show in its ninth season to get this many nominations is beyond incredible,” divulges Fenton Bailey during our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above) when asked about the multiple Emmy bids for “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” This VH1 reality series, executive produced through Bailey and partner Randy Barbato‘s company World of Wonder, follows RuPaul Charles’ search for America’s next drag superstar. The show racked up seven Emmy nominations, including its first for Best Reality Competition Program. RuPaul, who won last year as Best Reality Host, is back again as well, and the series is recognized for its costumes, editing, hair styling, makeup, and casting. Additionally, Bailey, Barbato, and RuPaul contend in Best Unstructured Reality Program for “RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked,” which airs on YouTube.
The series has been steadily gaining in popularity since it first premiered on Logo, where, “it was sort of a sleeper. People knew about the show, but it was sort of tucked away. I think people had to discover it.” Bailey believes that it’s low profile was beneficial because “it gave us room to experiment… this is the little show that grew and grew and grew.” The move to VH1 was a smart one because, “ultimately, it’s family entertainment, and so it’s been very satisfying to have the opportunity to reach a broader audience.”
Bailey founded World of Wonder Productions with creative partner Barbato. They have competed at the Primetime Emmys six previous times (Best Nonfiction Special and Best Nonfiction Directing for “Becoming Chaz” in 2011; Best Variety Special for “Wishful Drinking” in 2011; Best Unstructured Reality Program for “Million Dollar Listing NY” in 2014 and 2015; and Best Documentary or Nonfiction Special for “Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures” in 2016). They won a Daytime Emmy for “Out of Iraq” (Best Special Class Program in 2017) and a News Emmy for “The Last Beekeeper” (Best Nature Program in 2010).