What happens when your brokerage becomes the subject of a Netflix series?
Jason Oppenheim had a chance to find out – Selling Sunset, a show that follows the broker and his agents on celebrity real estate sales, premiered on Netflix Friday. The eight-episode series centers around The Oppenheim Group, which Jason owns with his twin brother Brett.
“At this point, we’re feeling relief,” Oppenheim told Inman, adding that they first started working on the shows two-and-a-half years ago. “It’s just great to experience something like this with people I’m so close to professionally and personally.”
The real estate company sells celebrity listings around L.A. – just this week, it listed Orlando Bloom’s bachelor pad for nearly $9 million. The storyline of the first season is simple to follow – actress Chrishell Hartley joins as the latest member of an all-female team of agents.
As with most real estate TV, Selling Sunset feeds on the public’s love of celebrity real estate – glitzy agents sell ultra-luxury properties, such as the $40 million property in the Hollywood Hills. (The agency earns a $1.2 million commission on the sale.) But unlike Million Dollar Listing or Below Deck, the latest series is a ‘docusoap’ and focuses primarily on agent interactions and relationships.
Adam DiVello, the producer behind MTV’s Laguna Beach and The Hills, has also backed Selling Sunset.
“We were busy already but at the end of the day we thought it would be fun for the team and provide positive publicity,” said Oppenheim. The production team selected which of his 12 agents would be featured, based on both casting calls and agents’ own desire to participate.
When asked whether any of the scenes and dramatic moments are played up for the show, Oppenheim said the team quickly got used to acting naturally while camera followed them around. That said, he said that any luxury real estate show will necessarily avoids some of the more mundane aspects of life as an agent — which could, as a result, make viewers think that life as an agent is just one long luxury ride.
“A lot of people who watch these shows are left with the impression that [being a real estate agent] is easier than it really is,” Oppenheim said. “I get three hundred texts and 75 to 100 hundred phone calls a day. Having that on a show would be pretty boring.”
Time will tell whether the formula – beautiful real estate agents, extravagant properties and lots of drama — will keep readers hooked long enough for a second season.