The “Million Dollar Listing New York” cast’s antics generate criticism from some in the industry.
Like most reality TV shows, “Million Dollar Listing” is rife with drama, broken allegiances and fake tans. But one critical factor sets the cast of young, intrepid brokers apart from the cast of “Jersey Shore”: They are some of the best in the business.
“We’re looking for the smartest young agents, who are excellent at what they do, opinionated, and who are not afraid to let us in on the details,” said Jennifer Levy, Bravo’s executive producer of “Million Dollar Listing.”
The series, which premiered with a Los Angeles cast and has since expanded to New York and Miami, follows a group of brokers as they navigate various high-stakes real estate deals. Although many in the business decry some of the shenanigans in the show as putting brokers in a bad light, it is popular. “MDLNY” ’s June finale drew 1.3 million viewers.
How does a broker score a spot on such a show? On-screen presence is necessary, but Levy said that casting calls start with a broker’s track record.
“We look at their listings, who their clients are, what they’re selling,” Levy said. You have to have a certain level of success.”
Douglas Elliman Florida broker Chris Leavitt, one of the cast members on “Million Dollar Listing Miami,” which premiered in June, said he was handpicked by World of Wonder, the company that produces the show.
“Between working in real estate for almost 20 years and being a top seller at my firm, I’ve been able to make a name for myself in the industry,” Leavitt said. “I’d like to think my vibrant personality, and being easy on the eyes, sealed the deal.”
But Leavitt, 41, represents a minority among the brokers cast, most of whom have a considerably less experience.
“Historically, the show has been about the Young Turks in the industry and how they are redefining the industry,” Levy said. The first season of “MDL Los Angeles” starred Josh Flagg, who was only 21 years old when the show premiered in 2006. And the three current cast members on the New York show — Ryan Serhant, Fredrik Eklund and Luis Ortiz — are an average of 32 years old.