‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’: How Long It Took to Sell the Show to VH1

Remember when RuPaul’s Drag Race was on Logo TV Monday nights? Its since become a worldwide phenomenon, becoming one of the most popular LGBTQ+ shows and moving to the more mainstream network, VH1. Find out what caused the 2017 switch and how the show changed since then.

RuPaul's Drag Race
RuPaul Charles, Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley and Ross Matthews | JB Lacroix/Getty Images

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ originally aired on Logo TV

According to US Weekly, RuPaul’s Drag Race was bought during RuPaul’s first pitch meeting, presumably with Logo. This competition reality show premiered on Logo TV in 2009, complete with musky filters and nine drag queen contestants. The show featured a similar format to the structure today, with lip-sync performances and maxi challenges.

Since then, the show exploded into mainstream pop culture. RuPaul won the 2016 and 2018 Emmy awards for “Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program.” Some contestants starred in blockbuster movies and television shows, like RuPaul’s Drag Race: All-Stars 3 contestant, Shangela, who acted in A Star Is Born.

RuPaul's Drag Race
RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars 4 | VH1 Instagram

In 2017, ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ moved from Logo to VH1

It wasn’t until March 2017 that the series announced its shift away from the biggest LGBTQ+ television network. Season 9 of RuPaul’s Drag Race premiered on VH1, a “more mainstream” network for television programming.

According to The Huffington Post, this shift might be a result of a larger, broader audience. RuPaul’s talk show was also broadcasted on VH1 from 1996 to 1998.

“We’ve had a great time at Logo. Logo has been so good for us and allowed us to be ourselves, so in my heart Logo will always be a part of Drag Race,” RuPaul said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “I think the move to VH1 really reflects the broadening of our audience.”

VH1’s choice to pick up RuPaul’s Drag Race could also be the result of Viacom’s decision to focus on its six flagship networks, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., and Paramount. According to Deadline, Viacom deemed networks like VH1 and Logo “reinforcing” brands.

RuPaul's Drag Race
RuPaul’s Drag Race | VH1

‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ grew in popularity

It is unclear how long it took the show to sell to VH1, but since then, RuPaul’s Drag Race has grown in popularity. The season 9 finale was the most watched television social program on its premiere date, trending on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, according to VH1.

According to BBC News, “the season 10 premiere attracted one million viewers,” the largest audience to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race to date. Some contestants on Drag Race rake in millions of follows on Instagram and Twitter. Season 6 contestant, Bianca Del Rio, holds close to two million followers on Instagram.

RuPaul's Drag Race Season 9
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9 | Santiago Felipe/Getty Images

VH1 has a string of reality shows, including ‘Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta’

Although RuPaul’s Drag Race is one of the most watched LGBTQ+ centered programs, VH1 has a line of reality shows available for viewers. Those shows include Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta, Love and Hip Hop: New York, and America’s Next Top Model.

The RuPaul’s Drag Race: Season 11 finale premieres May 20, 2019, on VH1.