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World of Wonder Bolsters Leadership Team, Further Invests in Multi-Platform Content Business

by | Apr 17, 2019

World of Wonder, the multi-platform production company behind Emmy award-winning RuPaul’s Drag Race, Out of Iraq, Million Dollar Listing franchise, Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures and more subversive and groundbreaking programming, announced new additions to its senior leadership team. The hires come after a banner year that saw the company garner 12 Emmy nominations and 5 wins, debut multiple award-winning film documentaries, and produce shows for ABC, VH1, Fox, Netflix, Bravo, AMC Networks, and more.

Joining the company are the former VP of Production at Discovery Matt Vafiadis, as SVP of Development, reporting to Chief Creative OfficerTom Campbell who will continue to oversee the department; former OWN executive Maitee Cueva, as SVP of Current Series and Programming; former SVP of Production & Development at Collab Ryan Slattery, as SVP of Digital Content; and Matt Habib as Head of Brand Partnerships, joining from Rolling Stone.

The four new hires join World of Wonder after a record-breaking year that included four Emmy awards for RuPaul’s Drag Raceand unprecedented expansion in the direct-to-consumer space, including worldwide growth of its SVOD WOW Presents Plus, welcoming over 100,000 attendees at its owned-and-operated bicoastal convention RuPaul’s DragCon, and the announcement of the upcoming Official RuPaul’s Drag Race Official Season 11 Tour.

“We have experienced steady year-on-year growth for the past 15 years, largely thanks to the amazingly talented executives we’ve already had on staff. we’re thrilled to add to our WOW family,” said World of Wonder co-founders Randy Barbara and Fenton Bailey. “We look forward to taking on the creative challenges of a continually changing industry landscape with these experienced and dynamic additions to our team.”

WOW’s diverse offering of current and recent projects include the 12th season of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles, the 10th season of Emmy-nominatedMillion Dollar Listing New York, freshman series Dancing Queen for Netflixand Bravo’s Backyard Envy, plus ABC primetime special I’m Coming Home,the just-announced RuPauldaytime talk show for Fox, and many more. World of Wonder remains dedicated to its roots as independent documentary producers with 2019’s Tribeca Film Festival selection Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts, executive produced by WOW co-founders Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, and recent docuseries The Ministry of Evil: The Twisted Cult of Tony Alamo on SundanceTV. Coming off of its historic 2018 Emmy wins, Drag Raceis currently airing season 11, following RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars 4. Globally, Drag Race Thailand continues to air, and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK was announced for BBC Three. World of Wonder also recently launched its first podcast, The Official RuPaul’s Drag Race Podcast.  This new podcast adds to the company’s audio offerings that also include The WOW Report, airing on Sirius XM’s Radio Andy every Friday.

The company saw 214% growth year over year across all of World of Wonder operated social channels in 2018, with a total of 2.1M followers across platforms and a 310% increase in engagement. WOW’s owned-and-operated SVOD WOW Presents Plus is now available in every territory worldwide, with new series hitting the platform monthly. The platform often serves as a content incubator for World of Wonder’s development slate, with several series moving to linear. The WOW Presents YouTube channel also broke the 1 million subscriber benchmark, with 231 million yearly views. RuPaul’s DragCon drew a combined 100k+ attendees and $8M spent on the convention floor on both coasts in 2018. DragCon LA 2019, returning May 24-26, will kick-off the recently announced Official RuPaul’s Drag Race: Season 11 Tour.

More about the new hires:

  • Matt Vafiadis (SVP of Development) – Vafiadis will handle projects in all stages of development for the company as SVP of Development. He joins World of Wonder after three years as Vice President of Production at Discovery where he oversaw the network’s #1 series and franchise Gold Rush, and successfully launched two hit spin-offs.
  • Maitee Cueva (SVP of Current Series and Programming) – Most notably known for being part of the original team to launch the Oprah Winfrey Network, Cueva will be overseeing all current programming at World of Wonder. At OWN, she also was key in building the network’s popular and successful Saturday night programming block.
  • Ryan Slattery (SVP of Digital Content) – Ryan Slattery will be leading WOW Presents and the WOW Presents Plus SVOD service, in addition to developing short-and long-form content for WOW-branded channels and external platforms and networks.

Previously, Ryan was Senior Vice President of Production & Development at Collab, a digital studio and creator network.
  • Matt Habib (Head of Brand Partnerships) – Habib will be securing sponsorship deals for both in-house events and World of Wonder’s bi-coastal convention RuPaul’s DragCon. Prior to joining the media company, he served as Head of Digital Sales for Rolling Stone where he focused on growing the magazine’s digital, video, mobile, and social revenue.

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