Real estate is going Hollywood. ABC has “Hot Properties,” a show about four women working in a Manhattan real estate office. And NBC is reportedly working on a show called “Hot Property” about the lives of three real estate agents in Houston.

Both shows are comedies with similar titles that are focused on characters working in the same industry, but one is reportedly about a cutthroat while the other is about non-cutthroats.

TheHollywoodReporter.com has said that “Hot Property” will focus on a “Southern belle whose cutthroat antics as a real estate agent mask the soft spot she has for her staff.”

ABC, meanwhile, announced that the characters in its “Hot Properties” series “have taken the cutthroat out of their real estate business by working as a team with the mantra, ‘What would Oprah do?'”

Has the real estate office become the next “general hospital” of television entertainment? And what’s so funny about the real estate business? Stay tuned. Real estate agents have already become a staple in reality television programs – regularly appearing on Home & Garden Television series and as cast members on game show-type reality shows such as “The Apprentice” and “Survivor.”

And real estate agents know their profession can be very entertaining. “The real estate biz has its share of characters,” said Jeff Kohl, a Prudential Realtor whose Web site address is: HotProperties.com. “I could write a book myself. I have always thought (this business) would make a great comedy.” Kohl said he has heard about the upcoming series “Hot Properties.”

Chaz Walters, of Hot Property residential brokerage in Chicago (hotpropertyonline.com), said he has branded the “Hot Property” name with real estate for the past decade in Chicago and has “literally spent $2 million-plus on ads over the past years. In the beginning I got so many cheesy remarks from those in the industry and now they copy me. Just really funny.”

 

Walters said his lawyer is investigating whether there are any trademark infringement issues associated with the “Hot Property” name by networks and other real estate firms, as he owns a trademark for that real estate brand. “We will take all necessary steps to protect our trademark as we have begun to expand our comapny and have ultimate plans to be a major brand for real estate brokerage,” he said.

 

Certified letters have been sent on his behalf to television networks, he said, calling for a renaming of the sitcoms, and Walters said he received notice from Twentieth Century Fox, the studio behind “Hot Property,” stating that “they have cancelled the sitcom.” An NBC spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.

 

Bob Dawe, a RE/MAX Realtor in Calgary, Canada, who purchased the HotProperties.net Web site last year for $1,600, said he would definitely watch a show about real estate agents. “There is an endless amount of potential material for such a show. As Realtors, we are routinely allowed into our client’s lives. Many times we’ll be between people divorcing, marrying, dying and many situations in between. It’s an opportunity to share both comedy and drama.”

He added, “The stress level of the average Realtor is very high, because the onus is put on us to deliver on our clients’ largest asset, as well as solving relationship problems along the way.”

ABC notes that “Hot Properties” is about “very different career women” who are “at various stages in their lives. When they’re not catering to high-end clients, they’re coping with their own personal predicaments.”

Think “Sex & The City,” younger “Golden Girls” and “Designing Women.”

The leader of the Manhattan real estate firm in “Hot Properties” is Ava Summerlin, a 40-something Realtor who has just married a handsome 25-year-old who doesn’t know her age. Actress Gail O’Grady, who appeared in the 1960s drama “American Dreams,” stars as Summerlin.

Chloe Reid (actress Nicole Sullivan), is “a self-help book junkie” who is desperately seeking a sincere relationship; Lola Hernandez (Sofia Vergara) is newly divorced after learning that she was married to a gay man for a decade; and Emerson Ives (Christina Moore) bonds with these other real estate agents and joins forces with them after learning that her fiancé is a philanderer, according to the ABC description.

Sullivan has starred in “King of Queens” and as a voice talent in “Baby Blues.” Vergara starred in “Lords of Dogtown,” “Chasing Papi,” and hosted the TV series “Club La Bomba.” Moore starred in “Hyperion Bay” and “The Bad Girl’s Guide.”

Suzanne Martin, who was a writer and producer of the “Frasier” TV series, is executive producer of “Hot Properties.”

TV Week has reported that “Hot Property” will feature actress Ivana Milicevic, who has appeared in a number of films, including “Jerry Maguire,” “Vanilla Sky,” and “Enemy of the State,” and starred in the TV series “The Mind of the Married Man.” She has appeared in a number of TV series as a guest, including “Las Vegas,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Friends,” and “Seinfeld.” The Hollywood Reporter has listed Peter Traugott and Gail Gilchriest as associated with “Hot Property.”

Gilchriest, a Texas native who is known for writing “My Dog Skip,” a 2000 film, will serve as co-executive producer for “Hot Property” and Traugott, known for ABC’s “Jake in Progress,” will serve as executive producer, Zap2it.com reported.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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