How real are Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing shows?

Million Dollar Listing LA

Million Dollar Listing allows ordinary viewers the extraordinary opportunity to peer into the lives of the mega rich as they look to purchase their next home. While the average home price in the United States is a conservative $273,000, Million Dollar Listing showcases homes anywhere from $1.5-$20 million dollars and above.

Following the lives of young, attractive, cut-throat real estate agents has proved to be a recipe for success for Bravo. Million Dollar Listing has become a thriving franchise that has evolved into several seasons and multiple cities including Los Angeles, New York, and Miami. Viewers are left stunned by the shenanigans the agents pull to win deals and annihilate their competition. But, it has also left many viewers wondering, “Is this fake?”

What we do know is the agents are real real estate agents. We also know they face a grueling filming schedule of up to 10 months, and that’s in addition to their client work to sell homes. We also know the clients are real, which can prove to be a challenge for the agents. Finding clients who are willing to expose themselves on national TV can be a feat, and sometimes stand-in clients or client representatives are used.

But, we also know Million Dollar Listing is in business to provide viewers entertainment. A former MDLNY agent confirms some of the scenes are staged (duh).

Jessica Cohen was only in a few episodes of season one before she was fired. She claims Bravo let her go because she, “wasn’t interesting enough.” Jessica spilled the beans on the behind-the-scenes tricks producers use to provide viewers with a storyline. According to Jessica, this is an example of a staged scene:

My very first day of filming, [the producers] started out with me in the hair salon and we’re getting ready for a client event. So, I’m in the chair and they said, “We want you to call your assistant and tell him you’ll be right down.” So, I said, “What do you mean? My phone isn’t ringing.” So somebody called me and I refused. [The producers said], “‘What do you mean you can’t pretend to pick up the phone and say to no one on the other end, ‘I’ll be right there.’?”

Michael Lorber, who “dated” Jessica, is another former MDLNY agent who appeared on the first season before quitting because it didn’t help his business grow the way he was hoping. He was quoted in an article by the The New York Times:

It is filled with scenes recreated for the cameras, he said. Scenes of the brokers waking up in the morning, for instance, were often filmed in the afternoon. One time the producers asked him to dress in winter clothing in the summer to walk into a building, for a shot that would be added to a show that had been taped long before. “It was so stupid,” he said.

Here’s a shot of Michael with fellow Bravolebrity Sonja Morgan.

Michael Lorber

And finally, to take staged scenes to another level, Fredrik Eklund’s condo board didn’t allow him to film in his condo for the seven months he needed. So, Fredrik did what anyone would, he rented another apartment and filmed his “home” scenes there instead.

Madison Hildebrand is one of the most famous agents featured in the MDL franchise. When he was asked point blank if the show was real, he responded simply by saying, “I’m a genuine and authentic person. The story lines are real, and Bravo is big on keeping it that way.”

Well, there you have it.


Catch new episodes of Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles Wednesdays at 9/8c on Bravo.