October 5, 2017
October 5, 2017 via OC Register.
A TV show that peeks into multimillion-dollar homes would be “very, very boring,” says Orange County luxury real estate agent Spyro Kemble.
A self-described “peacock” who wields Montecristo cigars and struts around in spike-covered Christian Louboutin loafers, Kemble is one of the stars of Bravo TV’s new reality show, “Real Estate Wars,” premiering Thursday, Oct. 5.
“We have characters you’ll love or hate,” he promises.
A new twist on Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing” franchise, “Real Estate Wars” ratchets up the heat on professional rivalries.
The show capitalizes on the real-life bad blood between two aggressive agents, John McMonigle and Jojo Romeo, who once worked together. Even though she was among his top performers, McMonigle says, he fired her because she seethed negativity and undermined him. She says she couldn’t stomach his narcissism and left.
“Jojo is a hot mess,” McMonigle says. “She just can’t control her emotions.”
“He’s like an infestation that never goes away,” Romeo says.
The show diverges from the “Million Dollar Listing” formula by using a team vs. team approach rather than focusing on a few characters. On “Real Estate Wars,” 10 agents are split into two sides, with McMonigle and Romeo on opposite teams, ostensibly fighting over wealthy clients and eye-candy properties.
The show puts a spotlight on a swath of Orange County’s high-end housing market.
“Orange County is paradise on steroids,” says Kylie McCollough, an agent and cast member. “The bigger car, the younger wife … And it’s what feeds our industry.”
Of course, after years of reality TV drama – or what a New York Times story once pegged “faux drama” – viewers may not buy all the bickering. And on “Real Estate Wars,” the two factions – Relegance Group and The McMonigle Team – are pseudonyms, not brokerages.
But that’s entertainment.
Some of the cast members have hired their own public relations reps, and intense preening and gym workouts appear to be de rigueur.
Kemble, 60, who can be seen shirtless on Instagram, once worked as a private trainer and more recently brought a Bravo camera crew along to a Botox appointment. McCollough, a 38-year-old wife and mother, has been a bikini-clad, fitness competitor. Jojo Romeo, with three ex-husbands and five children, wears tight dresses and belies her 49 years.
Cast members hope to gain exposure and listings, following in the footsteps of agents on other real estate reality shows who have become national celebrities.
“I’d like to have this kind of as an ace in your pocket,” says cast member Drew D’Angelo. “If a client Googles you, it pops up and it’s instant credibility.”
Not all high-end agents and brokers share that view. Many, along with their affluent clients, prefer to keep their business private.
“There’s a lot of people out there now coming out and talking bad about the show — that it’s going to be horrible for our careers,” says cast member Leo Goldschwartz. “Whenever you’re climbing, there’s always going to be somebody pulling you down.”
As McCollough sees the show, “It’s an opportunity to showcase women in business. We’re not fighting for a husband or fighting with our friends.”