Paramount+ Jumps On The Global Drag Race Phenomenon

Dec 19, 2022

Drag artists may find themselves under attack from radical conservative politicians and domestic terrorists in the United States, but that hasn’t stopped the art form from blossoming into a billion-dollar industry. Thanks to the success of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” drag performers have sold out Radio City Music Hall, toured around the globe, performed at massive music festivals such as Coachella, spurred other successful reality TV franchises, starred in Best Picture nominated films, and become a mainstay of Madison Avenue corporate advertising campaigns. “Drag Race” has also been big business for Paramount corporate (formerly Viacom) where its flagship series has been a mainstay on cabler VH1 since 2017 and its “All Stars” edition recently led to record viewership on streamer Paramount+. Today, Paramount announced some big moves that signify the company’s hope that “Drag Race” will help its streaming service, Paramount+, add subscribers around the world.
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Before getting to the intriguing announcements, Paramount made some domestic news revealing that “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 15 will premiere on Friday, January 6 at 8 PM ET/PT. In a surprise, the Emmy-winning program will have a new home, however, MTV. Moreover, “RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race” is returning for a third season on VH1 later in 2023.
But that’s not really the big news.
“Drag Race” has already spurred a number of popular international spinoffs. RuPaul Charles hosts the award-winning “RuPaul’s Drag Race UK,” co-produced by the BBC, which has already released four regular seasons and one “RuPaul’s Drag Race vs the World” installment. A fifth “Drag Race UK” will shoot next year. Moreover, Charles also hosts the somewhat messy (don’t get us started) “RuPaul’s Drag Race Down Under” which features contestants from Australia and New Zealand. A third installment is somehow happening next year as well (dear god, please overhaul this one Ru).
But wait, there’s more.
“Canada’s Drag Race” will shoot its fourth season in 2023 and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stopped by “Canada’s Drag Race vs. The World” which is currently airing on Canada’s Crave Network, the BBC, and the U.S. streaming service WoW Presents Plus. World of Wonder, the company behind the latter network, started “Drag Race” in 2009 and now rules over an empire including co-productions “Drag Race Espana” (Spain), “Drag Race France,” “Drag Race Phillippines” and “Drag Race Italia.” “Drag Race Belgique” and “Drag Race Sverige” (Sweden) are also on the way. The Spanish and French franchises have been massive successes with sold-out contestant tours all over their respective territories. It’s fairly obvious Paramount has realized they made a mistake not securing those global rights and letting World of Wonder partner with their competitors (Discovery+ is behind two of the international franchises).
Looking to rectify this, Paramount announced that three new editions set in Germany, Brazil, and Mexico will air on local MTV markets as well as Paramount+. The streamer has been attempting to make inroads in Latin America and the Mexican and Brazillian installments (Drag is huge in Brazil) could absolutely spur subscriber growth. Paramount confirmed these three installments will be available for U.S. Paramount+ subscribers, a very smart move.
In a statement, Chris McCarthy, President/CEO, Paramount Media Networks & MTV Entertainment Studios noted, “With the global expansion of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race,’ we’re thrilled to bring the franchise into three new Paramount+ territories – Germany, Brazil and Mexico – and are very excited that will return for a third season with our partners at VH1/BET.”
“We are big fans of the ‘Drag Race’ franchise and thrilled to bring back ‘RuPaul’s Secret Celebrity Drag Race’for another season on VH1,” said Scott Mills, President/CEO, BET Media Group.
But, wait, wait. There really is more.
In another bombshell for “Drag Race” fans, Paramount announced that “RuPaul’s Drag Race Global All-Stars” would air on Paramount+ around the world. In theory, it will replace the “vs the world” format which even casual U.S. “Drag Race” fans found hard to ignore. Considering how many queens from other franchises have become popular outside their own territories (including in the U.S.), it should be another opportunity for both international and domestic viewership. Especially if some of the rumored fan-favorite American contestants participate.
Granted, international versions of reality competition shows are nothing new. Programs such as “Survivor,” “Big Brother,” “The Amazing Race,” “The Voice” and “The British Bake-Off” have spin-offs on every continent of the globe. And American fans of those franchises have spent years watching illegal streams to quench their thirst for the formats. What is intriguing is the fact one streamer (in this case, Paramount) has realized controlling those spin-offs may help it grow its overall streaming business. And in an era where Hollywood corporations are trying to cut costs, these reality programs are much more affordable than pricey narrative fare.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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