May 18, 2017
The show “brings the cut-throat world of real estate in Orange County to life,” Bravo said in its announcement on Thursday, May 18. “With 10 agents, eccentric clients, multi-million dollar deals, old vendettas, and one common goal of winning, all is fair in real estate and war.”
The Register reported on the filming last year, as the cast and producers began popping up at a variety of swanky open houses around the county.
The show is a twist on Bravo’s popular “Million Dollar Listing” series, but players in this production face off as members of two opposing teams.
They feature high-end O.C. agents John McMonigle and Jojo Romeo, who Bravo bills as the “real estate queen of Orange County.”
In addition to Romeo, the opposing group includes agents Spyro Kemble, Eliisa Stowell, Kylie McCullough, and Kacey Taormina.
Other reality shows on Bravo and HGTV have turned real estate agents into celebrities. But some industry types criticize these shows for its focus on personalities and say they don’t adequately portray how deals get done.
A few local agents who work with wealthy clients said privately they’d feel queasy about turning over their public image to the producers of a reality show.
Josh Altman, a star of “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles,” said in an interview with the Register last year that the program has opened doors for him and other cast members.
“They’re going to have so much footage of you, they can make you look pretty much however they want you to look,” Altman said, taking it in stride. “There’s gonna be episodes you’re not going to be in love with. It’s just the nature of the beast.
“At the end of the day, your true colors will come through.”
In Orange County, McMonigle has been ready for his close-up for some time.
McMonigle scored a cameo on “The Real Housewives of Orange County” and has appeared on the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Access Hollywood,” “The Insider” and HGTV, according to his resume.
Recently, he represented a newly built, 13,891-square-foot home in Pelican Crest that sold for $21 million, touted as a record sale for Newport Coast’s Pelican communities.
The area is home to basketball superstar Kobe Bryant and the setting for the 5-star Resort at Pelican Hill.
Also in the vicinity is a sprawling estate now on the market for $55 million that once was developed and marketed by McMonigle.
That didn’t have a Hollywood ending, though.
McMonigle wound up filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2011 as part of a series of setbacks that began when a lender cut off funds for the mansion, known at the time as Villa del Lago. He once had it priced as high as $87 million. After price cuts, and under the auspices of another agent, it sold, unfinished and at a court-sanctioned auction, for $18.5 million.