Nominee Randy Barbato on Authenticity in Television

Randy Barbato during his interview with WEBN-TV.
Randy Barbato during his interview with WEBN-TV.

Randy Barbato during his interview with WEBN-TV.

By Hannah Perrin 9/16/2015

World of Wonder was founded by two men in the 90s looking to expose society to the underground world of New York. Fast forward thirty years and World of Wonder is still thriving creating documentaries, specials, and reality TV.

Known for letting viewers into the lives of social misfits such as Monica Lewinsky, Ru Paul, and Tammy Faye, founder of World of Wonder, Randy Barbato, said they relate to those outside society’s circles.

“What we identify with are people who just don’t sort of fit neatly into the mainstream,” said Barbato. “The joy of running your own production company, at least for us, is that we only do what turns us on and there is a common thread with all of our work and it is inspired by people who are not necessarily perceived as mainstream who sort of dance to the beat of a different drummer.”

Their show Million Dollar Listing: New York was nominated for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program. The series follows three agents trying to make multi-million dollar real estate deals in the Big Apple.

Barbato, who is also an Executive Producer of the show, explains that though the show is different from most of World of Wonder’s typical works, Million Dollar Listing is still about finding the authenticity in the agents’ lives.

“We focus a lot on outsiders. I actually think in a weird way some of our real estate agents are that way too,” said Barbato. “The great thing about our real estate agents is that they are extreme personalties. It takes a certain kind of individual to have that kind of level of ambition. Also we cast it with people who are sort of corky and left of center.”

Million Dollar Listing: New York has been nominated two years in a row for the Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program and Barbato believes it’s because the it is a hyper-real reality show.

“The hook of that show is closing a deal,” said Barbato. “So you get to see these agents really sweating and there really are hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake. I think when you get to watch the transaction happening, the pressure to close a deal, that’s all real. Then the joy of actually closing a deal or the opposite of that when they don’t close a deal.”

Million Dollar Listing: New York is a spinoff from Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles. The show has also expanded to San Francisco and Miami, but Barbato said there’s no extra work put in to make the shows stand out from one another.

“With Million Dollar Listings, each one has its own flavor and character,” said Barbato. “It’s influenced a lot by the actual city, the type of real estate that’s there, the type of people that’s there, so the city has a lot to do with the vibe and the feel of the series.”

As for new project, Barbato says new show ideas are “rejected on a daily basis.”

He continued, “What I say to all the kids is, ‘no is the beginning of yes.'”

Through all of the no’s, World of Wonder still has many new projects in the works, so many that Barbato couldn’t choose just one.

“Truly, I’m always excited about everything that comes out of World of Wonder.”