World of Wonder (production company)

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World of Wonder Productions
Founded 1991
Founder Fenton Bailey
Randy Barbato
Country of origin United States
Official website

World of Wonder is an international media production company based in Hollywood, California. Founded in 1991 by Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, the company creates reality and documentary television programs, feature films, and Internet video content with a particular focus on sex, sexuality and the erotic subculture.[1] World of Wonder's Reality TV credits include series RuPaul's Drag Race (Logo), Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles, New York, Miami, San Francisco (Bravo), #CandidlyNicole (Vh1), Big Freedia (Fuse), and Island Hunters (HGTV).

The company is best known for producing RuPaul's television show The RuPaul Show, as well as the RuPaul's Drag Race franchise, which consists of RuPaul's Drag Race and RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race, spinoff series RuPaul's Drag U (which was canceled in 2012 after three seasons), and RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked, a behind-the-scenes after show which airs immediately after every new episode of the original and All-Star series. Since its creation, RuPaul's Drag Race has led to record-breaking ratings hit for Viacom's Logo channel,[2] and has already completed seven primary seasons and one All Stars season on Logo, VH1 and OUTtv in Canada. Both RuPaul's Drag Race and RuPaul's All-Star Drag Race have been renewed for an eighth and second season respectively.

In addition to the RuPaul's Drag Race franchise, the production company is also known for Inside Deep Throat, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and Party Monster (both the feature film and "shockumentary").


World of Wonder operates primarily out of its historic art-deco building on Hollywood Boulevard. Designed by architects S. Tilden Norton and Fredrick H. Wallis and erected in 1930, the building served as the original home of the Directors Guild of America. The World of Wonder Storefront Gallery now occupies the ground floor retail space, with production and management offices occupying the upper three stories. The basement, once home to the legendary punk rock club The Masque, now houses the company's video archive and a sound stage.

Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey met in the graduate film program at NYU, in the mid-1980s. Intent on becoming famous, they formed a disco-pop-rock duo called The Fabulous Pop Tarts and began performing regularly at Danceteria and other clubs in downtown New York City.[1] They produced two albums, Age of the Thing which included their hit single, “New York City Beat”, and Gagging on the Lovely Extravaganza, which included guest appearances by Lady Miss Kier, RuPaul, Martyn Phillips, and Filthy the Dog. World of Wonder was organized initially in order to manage the Fabulous Pop Tarts, and to enable projects in television production and licensing, documentary film-making, and in helping to build the careers of their friends and fellow artists, particularly RuPaul.

World of Wonder shares its name with one of its early television documentaries, Died on the 4th of July: Nelson Sullivan's World of Wonder. Nelson Sullivan was a central figure in the downtown New York City art and club scene of the 1980s, obsessively videotaping everyone and everything he saw before dying of a heart attack on July 4, 1989. He left behind over 1800 hours of video footage shot over the last ten years of his life. From this archive, World of Wonder created the one-hour documentary portrait of Nelson which aired on UK's Channel 4, and is also included on the DVD release of Party Monster: The Shockumentary.

Co-founders Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey authored The World According to Wonder in 2013, celebrating 21 years of production, which is available online at Amazon.

Television and film productions[edit]

World of Wonder primarily produces television content for networks in the US and UK, including BBC, Channel 4, FIVE, HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, A&E, MTV, VH1, Bravo TV, Oxygen, Sky, Discovery and Living TV. Well known recent productions include RuPaul's Drag Race, Tori & Dean: Inn Love, Good Work, Million Dollar Listing, Heli-Loggers, and Pam Anderson: Girl on the Loose. World of Wonder also produced the documentary series One Punk Under God, Sex Change Hospital and TransGeneration, which won the 2006 GLAAD Award for Outstanding Documentary.

In addition to numerous television productions, World of Wonder has also produced several feature-length documentaries such as The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Party Monster: The Shockumentary, and The Last Beekeeper, as well as the feature film, Party Monster, starring Macaulay Culkin and Seth Green.


World of Wonder has created a substantial digital footprint with its YouTube channel WOWPresents, along with an award-winning blog, The WOW Report. Past and current bloggers include Stephen Saban, known for chronicling '80s downtown NYC club life in the original Details magazine which he co-founded, Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey, celebrity and host, James St. James, and dozens of other employees and associates of the company.

From December 2005 to September 2007, World of Wonder produced the web show thisisaknife for the website of Channel 4 in the UK.

World of Wonder Storefront Gallery[edit]

In the summer of 2007, World of Wonder opened its Storefront Gallery with a one-man show of Sham Ibriham's art work called "Shamart." Lead curators, James St. James, Thairin Smothers, and Steven Corfe have since staged several more popular art exhibits in the space on themes including Britney Spears, Dolly Parton, Madonna, owls, and cartoons. The space has also been used for guest-curated shows by Lenora Claire, Vivid Entertainment, and i am 8-bit. The critically acclaimed artists prvtdncr and Bodega Vendetta had the only solo store front gallery exhibition featuring the Sweaterqueens installation in the windows and filling the entire space with drawings, photographs and life size mannequin sculptures. Recently, RuPaul curated a show in celebration of all things drag for the premiere of her WOW-produced TV series, RuPaul's Drag Race.


Million Dollar Listing New York is a 2015 Emmy® Award nominee for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program. RuPaul’s Drag Race won the 2014 TCA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming. Big Freedia (Fuse) won the 2014 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Reality Program. Randy and Fenton were honored with the IDA Pioneer Award in December 2014, celebrating exceptional achievement, leadership, and vision in the nonfiction and documentary community.

World of Wonder has created award-winning films and documentaries: Inside Deep Throat, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Wishful Drinking, Monica in Black and White, and The Last Beekeeper, which won an Emmy® Award for Outstanding Nature Programming. Seven of their films have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival including Becoming Chaz and Party Monster, the documentary and feature film starring Macaulay Culkin.


  • Berlin Film Festival Selection – Inside Deep Throat
  • Emmy Award – The Last Beekeeper
  • Emmy Award – Party Monster: The Shockumentary
  • Emmy Nominated – Wishful Drinking
  • Emmy Nominated – Becoming Chaz
  • Emmy Nominated - The Strange History of Don't Ask, Don't Tell
  • GLAAD Media Award – Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce
  • GLAAD Outstanding Reality Program – RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • GLAAD Outstanding Documentary – Becoming Chaz
  • GLAAD Media Award – TransGeneration
  • IDA Pioneer Award (2014)
  • Telly Awards (2013) – Winner, Three Categories - #CandidlyNicole (web series)
  • Milan International Film Festival, Best Documentary – Becoming Chaz
  • Outfest Annual Achievement Award
  • Outfest Grand Jury Award – Party Monster
  • Factual Entertainment Award – RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • Real Screen Awards - Winner, Best Non-Fiction: Arts & Culture – In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye
  • Real Screen Awards (2014) – Nominated – Esquire’s 80th
  • Real Screen Awards (2014) – Nominated – #CandidlyNicole
  • Real Screen Awards (2014) – Nominated – RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • Rotten Tomatoes Fresh Award (2005) – Inside Deep Throat
  • Rolling Stone 51st Best Music Video of All Time – Back to My Roots
  • BANFF Rockie Award - Andy Warhol: The Complete Picture
  • Frameline Award
  • Cable Ace Award – Drop Dead Gorgeous: The Power of HIV Positive Thinking
  • 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die – The Eyes of Tammy Faye
  • Billboard Music Video Award – Supermodel
  • Traverse City Film Festival, Special Founders Prize – Miss Navajo
  • LA Weekly, Best Counterculture Blog – The WOW Report
  • Television Critics Association Nomination (2014) - RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • Critics’ Choice Television Awards Nomination (2014) - RuPaul’s Drag Race

Feature Documentaries[edit]

  • I Am Britney Jean (E!, ITVS/UK)
  • Esquire’s 80th (Esquire)
  • In Vogue: The Editor's Eye (HBO)
  • Grab (PBS)
  • Becoming Chaz (OWN)
  • The Strange History of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (HBO)
  • Wishful Drinking (HBO)
  • Ghetto Ballet (HBO)
  • Stanley Kubrick’s Boxes (Sundance Channel/CH 4 UK)
  • Children of God: Lost and Found (Cinemax)
  • Miss Navajo (PBS)
  • Inside Deep Throat (Sundance Film Festival/Universal)
  • Andy Warhol: The Complete Picture (CH4 UK)
  • Monica in Black and White (HBO)
  • The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Cinemax/Lionsgate)
  • Juror #5: 58 Days of Duty in the OJ Civil Trial (HBO)
  • Party Monster: The Shockumentary (Cinemax)
  • Drop Dead Gorgeous: The Power of HIV Positive Thinking (HBO)
  • LA Stories: From the Eye of the Storm (BBC)

TV Series and Specials[edit]

  • Transcendent (Fuse)
  • Million Dollar Listing: San Francisco (Bravo)
  • Good Work (E!)
  • Friends to Lovers (Bravo)
  • #CandidlyNicole (VH1)
  • Million Dollar Listing: Miami (Bravo)
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race (LOGO)
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race: Untucked (LOGO)
  • Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles (Bravo)
  • Million Dollar Listing: New York (Bravo)
  • Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce (Fuse)
  • Life With La Toya (OWN)
  • All The Right Moves (Oxygen)
  • Island Hunters (HGTV)
  • The Fabulous Beekman Boys (Planet Green)
  • Tori & Dean: sTORIbook Weddings (Oxygen)
  • Finding Sarah (OWN)
  • RuPaul’s Drag U (LOGO)
  • Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood (Oxygen)
  • Fantasia For Real (VH1)
  • Carnie Wilson: Unstapled (GSN)
  • Man Shops Globe (Sundance Channel)
  • Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys (Sundance Channel)
  • Heli-Loggers (TLC)
  • The Last Beekeeper (Planet Green)
  • Transamerican Love Story (LOGO)
  • Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal (HBO)
  • Pam: Girl on the Loose (E!)
  • TransGeneration (Sundance Channel)
  • Showbiz Moms & Dads (Bravo)
  • The Crazy Rulers of the World (CH 4 UK)
  • Aircrash (CH 4 UK/A&E)
  • Brilliant But Cancelled: The Perfect Pitch (Trio)
  • Takeover TV (CH 4 UK)
  • Plushies & Furries (MTV)
  • The Secret Rulers of the World (CH 4 UK)
  • History of Surveillance (CH 4 UK)
  • The Adam & Joe Show (CH4 UK)
  • The RuPaul Show (VH1)
  • The Real Ellen Story (CH4 UK/Bravo)
  • For the Love of… (CH4 UK)
  • Manhattan Cable (CH4 UK)



  1. ^ a b Pike, L (2006). "Channel XYZ: drag queens, club kids, and amateur erotic filmmakers make WOW TV the online outlet for artists on the edge", Los Angeles Magazine, as archived on, retrieved April 4, 2009.
  2. ^ Stransky, T (2009). "RuPaul on 'Drag Race': Five rules for a killer comeback", Entertainment Weekly, February 26, 2009, retrieved April 4, 2009.

Further reading

External links[edit]