If you haven’t heard, Netflix has a new reality series called Selling Sunset that is only partially about selling properties near the Sunset Strip. What it’s really about is a bunch of women real estate agents acting like they’re on The Hills. And if you’re wondering if Selling Sunset is real there's a reason for that.
The series is produced by The Hills creator and producer Adam DiVello, and as we know from that show, while things that were shown on the series did actually happen — Heidi and Spencer Pratt are really married, Lauren Conrad and Heidi really had a falling out — the series was very heavily produced and not everything really happened. (For one, Whitney Port recently told Vogue that she didn’t actually replace Lauren on that infamous Paris trip.) This new series, Selling Sunset, is not a scripted series or a parody like Bajillion Dollar Propertie$. Its creators call it a “docusoap."
Selling Sunset has a similar vibe to The Hills, so you can’t exactly tell which parts were just planned by production because logistically they had to be and which parts maybe had a little more help. The point is, it’s a reality show. You’re not supposed to be watching it thinking that it’s scripted or fake. So, if you thought that Selling Sunset was an openly scripted drama only meant to seem like a reality show, that is not the case.
DiVello spoke to Variety about the series in March and explained the concept. “I wasn’t trying to make a Real Housewives,” he said. “Nothing against the Real Housewives, but we’re just trying to showcase more of the real estate and glamour of it all. Kind of take what I did with The Hills, which is also set in the Hollywood Hills, and show the females’ lives, their work lives, take their relationships and personal lives and use the real estate as a backdrop.”
But there is the fact that one of the main characters is a professional actor. Chrishell Hartley is a soap opera star, who goes to work at The Oppenheim Group, around which the show is centered, in the first episode. Her arrival shakes things up because the other women are used to the clique they already have. This all seems a little suspicious, but DiVello says it makes total sense.
“[S]he really is a realtor and has a real estate license selling homes when we met her,” he told Variety. “I think we were lucky to get her, I think she adds something that is very unique to Los Angeles, and we’re doing a show about realtors in Los Angeles. The fact that we have one who’s an actress and happens to be married to an actor who’s on a very successful TV series is a plus.” (Hartley is married to former soap actor and This Is Us star Justin Hartley.)
Hartley has commented on the show herself. In an interview with TMZ, she was asked about a scene where a potential buyer hits on one of the agents, who is married. Her response gave some more insight into the entire series. “Obviously, there are certain things that are a little amped up for the show,” she said, “but honestly, I don’t really think that they asked him to do that. I mean, who would do that on purpose?” At the end of the interview she added, “We’re actually trying to sell homes.”
They might be trying to sell homes, but they’re also trying to sell drama, so if anything seems a little “amped up," as Hartley put it, it probably is.