World of Wonder (company)

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World of Wonder
Founded 1991
Headquarters Los Angeles, California, United States

World of Wonder Productions is a production company founded in 1991 by filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato.[1] Based in Los Angeles, California, the company produces reality and documentary television programs, feature films, and new media, primarily specializing in documenting erotica, sexuality and the sex subculture.[2][3][4]

Their documentary films include Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures (2016),[5][6][7][8] Inside Deep Throat (2005), The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2000), Party Monster (1998), Monica in Black and White, Heidi Fleiss: The Would-be Madam of Crystal, and I Am Britney Jean.[9]

Among the company's television productions are RuPaul's Drag Race, the Million Dollar Listing series, Big Freedia (Fuse), and Island Hunters.[2]

The duo have produced programming for HBO, Showtime, Logo, VH1, IFC, Discovery, OWN, TLC, E!, HGTV, PBS, and Channel 4.[2] Their company blog, The WOW Report, was named Best Counter Culture Blog by LA Weekly; in 2014, Bailey and Barbato were honored with the IDA Pioneer Award, "celebrating exceptional achievement, leadership, and vision in the nonfiction and documentary community".


Filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato at the Miami International Film Festival presentation of Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures (2016). Photo: David Heischrek

Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato founded World of Wonder Productions in 1991, a successor to their "World of Wonder records" label, based in Los Angeles, California.[10][1]

Barbato and Bailey met in the graduate film program at NYU, in the mid-'80s. 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,[11] 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 operates primarily out of its 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 punk rock club The Masque, now houses the company's video archive and a sound stage.

World of Wonder notably 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 that he'd 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.

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.

The company produces 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 Drag Race: All Stars, 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,[12] and has completed nine seasons and two seasons of All Stars on Logo, VH1 and OUTtv in Canada. RuPaul's Drag Race has been renewed for a tenth season.

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,[2] Menendez: Blood Brothers starring Courtney Love, Nico Tortorella, Benito Martinez and Myko Oliver[13] They also released the documentary film Gender Revolution.[14][15]

RuPaul's Drag Con[edit]

In 2015, WOW added conventions to their portfolio with the launch of the first RuPaul’s DragCon located at the Los Angeles Convention Center. 2 years later, Drag-Con Los Angeles 2017 broke records with 40,000 attendees.[16]



  1. ^ a b Kilday, Gregg (October 2, 2014). "Robert Redford to Be Honored by International Documentary Association". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 31, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d "World of Wonder [us]". IMDB. Retrieved August 2, 2016. 
  3. ^ Portwood, Jerry (April 5, 2016). "Why We'll Never Forget Robert Mapplethorpe". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 2, 2016. 
  4. ^ Ritchie, Kevin (February 13, 2014). "Realscreen's Trailblazers 2014: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato". Real Scren. Retrieved August 2, 2016. 
  5. ^ "Mapplethorpe: Look at the pictures". Sundance Film Festival. Retrieved August 2, 2016. 
  6. ^ Barnes, Brooks (January 22, 2016). "Interview: The Directors Behind a Mapplethorpe Documentary". New York Times. Retrieved August 2, 2016. 
  7. ^ Gleibermann, Owen (January 23, 2016). "Sundance Review - Mapplethorpe: Look at the pictures". British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved August 2, 2016. 
  8. ^ Knight, Christopher (March 3, 2016). "How Robert Mapplethorpe went from America's pariah to America's sweetheart". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 2, 2016. 
  9. ^ Brian Mansfield (November 14, 2013). "E! to air 'I Am Britney Jean' Spears documentary". USA Today. Retrieved November 16, 2013. 
  10. ^ Nichols, JamesMichael (July 27, 2014). "After Dark: Randy Barbato & Fenton Bailey, AKA The Fabulous Pop Tarts". Huffington Post. Retrieved August 2, 2016. 
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Stransky, T (2009). "RuPaul on 'Drag Race': Five rules for a killer comeback", Entertainment Weekly, February 26, 2009, retrieved April 4, 2009.
  13. ^ "Courtney Love Is the "Only Reason" Her Menendez: Blood Brothers Costar Did the Movie".  Tierney Bricker, E News. June 11, 2017. Retrieved June 27, 2017
  14. ^ "Gender Revolution: A journey with Katie Couric, National Geographic. Retrieved July 4 2017". 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "RuPaul's DragCon Draws Record Attendance, New York Convention Announced".  Lawrence Yee, Variety. Retrieved July 4, 2017
  17. ^ Ohanesian, Liz (June 9, 2011). "Best Counterculture Blog: the WOW Report". LA Weekly. Retrieved August 2, 2016. 
  18. ^ Sandberg, Bryn Elise (June 19, 2014). "Critics' Choice Television Awards 2014: Complete Winners List". Hollywood Insider. 
  19. ^ "25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards Winners Announced". April 12, 2014. Retrieved April 14, 2014. 
  20. ^ Townsend, Megan (May 3, 2014). "George Takei, "Orange is the New Black," "Concussion" among #GLAADAwards recipients in New York City". GLAAD. Retrieved May 4, 2014. 
  21. ^ "2014 IDA Documentary Awards". International Documentary Association. Retrieved August 2, 2016. 
  22. ^ "IDA Awards: Netflix's Ted Sarandos to Receive Special Honor (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. October 15, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2016. 
  23. ^ Lewis, Dave (July 14, 2016). "Compete list of 2016 Emmy Nominations". LA Times. Retrieved August 2, 2016. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Amazon & Netflix Lead Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Winners".  Nellie Andreeva, Deadline Hollywood. April 29, 2017. Retrieved June 27, 2017
  26. ^ "Logo Documentary "Out Of Iraq" Wins Daytime Emmy".  Dan Avery, Logo. May 1, 2017. Retrieved June 27, 2017

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