Over 10 television seasons – eight regular seasons and two “All-Star” mini-seasons – “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has cemented its place as a show not only for the LGBT community, but also for mainstream viewers. .
Longtime judge Michelle Visage has been with RuPaul since Season 3 and feels connected to the “Drag Race” brand. In a phone interview with TheWrap, she described the show as being like her child.
“It’s pretty amazing to see growing up from birth,” said Visage, who has two (real) teenage daughters of her own.
“When you walk into a show you pray for its success, but you just don’t know what’s going to happen… I knew right away it was going to be special.”
Nowhere is this clearer than a recent dramatic change. For the first time, “Drag Race” will broadcast its entire season on VH1 instead of its home in Logo. Both networks are owned by Viacom, so the show isn’t moving far, but the change is practical and also spiritual.
Visage says the show’s producers are hopeful the network switch will increase its audience. By switching to a network better known than Logo, it opens up “Drag Race” to new viewers who may not have access to Logo or not find it on their television program.
Having access to more demographics and new viewers is the natural outcome of the show’s success. The show earned its third Emmy nomination in 2016, with host RuPaul Charles winning its premiere for “Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition-Reality Program.” The Season 7 premiere, at the time, earned the show an almost 20% increase in the 18-49 population coveted by advertisers.
“It’s going to grow the demographics again,” Visage said. “This is the perfect opportunity to present the show to a whole new audience. It increases the number of viewers, it increases the love of the profession, how these children struggle to get to where they are … [it just] makes it grow even more.
“Drag Race” began as a small reality show on Logo in 2009. It had nine contestants, a small budget, a number of awards including $ 20,000, and what became known in the community as a “Drag Race” lens of Vaseline “blurred. It was immediately a love letter to the art of dragging and the adjacent communities.
In Season 9, the cash prize has been increased to $ 100,000 as 13 contestants compete against each other.
“We’re still a part of Logo… but we’ve grown so much as a show beyond the reach of the LGBTQ community, that we still serve very well… It’s queer TV, honey, and nothing’s going to change, ”Visage said.
The “drag race” is almost more prominent now thanks to the current political climate that puts marginalized groups at risk, including the LGBTQ community. Politics was behind the backs of the producers and the judges, as you can see from the Season 9 premiere. The judges, including Face, refer to the First Family.
“You could put Donald Trump in that dress, he’s going to be gorgeous,” RuPaul said of a candidate’s look. The other judges immediately respond with a categorical “NO”.
The current presidency was not in the foreground, according to Visage, since the season was filmed before the November elections, but it’s hard not to think about it when the politics when your country is, as it puts it, “f —Ed right now. “
“Now more than ever it is more necessary that shows like our show [are] in the spotlight – shows that have a voice, shows that take sips of life, “Visage said, naming” Broad City, “” Schitt’s Creek, “and” scripted shows that are irreverent. These are the shows that must continue to be loud and proud. “
“Drag Race” is not just an entertaining game. He actively helps his viewers with his politics and perspective, emphasizing authenticity and who you are. As RuPaul sings in his song “Born Naked:” “We were all born naked and the rest is drag. “
A network switch is not going to change that.
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on VH1.