RuPaul's Drag Race eyeing 'three or four' new regions for international spin-offs
The kingdom built around RuPaul's reign as supermodel of the world is on course for a potential expansion.
In a new interview for EW's latest digital cover story on the Emmy-winning RuPaul's Drag Race franchise's new All-Stars 5 edition, series executive producers and co-creators Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey reveal the global brand's international footprint stands to evolve even further.
"There are more territories we're talking about for original versions of Drag Race," Bailey tells EW, adding that there are "three or four in the works right now" on top of current spin-offs in South America (The Switch Drag Race), Thailand (Drag Race Thailand), Great Britain (RuPaul's Drag Race UK), Canada (Canada's Drag Race), and Australia (Drag Race Australia).
Barbato says Drag Race's production company, World of Wonder, is also considering future installments of the new RuPaul's Secret Celebrity Drag Race, which debuted its first four episodes as a special event series earlier this year, and followed past contestants as they transformed famous faces into drag superstars.
"We feel like that's a new baby," Barbato explains. "I think people got it and responded, and it helped further communicate that big idea of you're born naked and the rest is drag, and we're hoping to produce more of those."
Reflecting on the series' past, Bailey maintains the "craziest thing" ever pitched for the franchise was Barbato's "idea of a Drag Race theme park," which, given the existence of Tyra Banks' fashion-themed Modelland ticketed attraction, isn't a far reach. More realistic, however, Barbato says he wouldn't mind developing "a Drag Race casino in Vegas" to accompany the Drag Race Live! residency show that opened in January at the city's historic Flamingo resort.
"Coronavirus put a pause in things there, but we're excited for its return," Bailey explains of the postponed production, which incorporates a cast of Drag Race alums — including Asia O’Hara, Derrick Barry, Kameron Michaels, Naomi Smalls, Vanessa “Vanjie” Matteo, and Yvie Oddly — for a musical narrative directed by RuPaul and Jamal Sims. "When it gets back on its feet, that can run and run."
For more on RuPaul's Drag Race, read EW's new digital cover story, in which Bailey and Barbato (as well as the All-Stars 5 cast) discuss how the queer community's resilience and innovation is keeping the drag industry afloat amid a global pandemic.
RuPaul — as host, mentor, and creative inspiration — decides who's in and who's out.