Love is in the air, but so are middle fingers in the new season of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles.” While some reality shows are so bad they make you want to throw the TV out the window, this one will make you want to get a bigger TV and a bigger house. The series has garnered a following not only due to the majestic homes most viewers can only dream about, but the charismatic personalities of Josh Altman and Josh Flagg (who come from prominent Jewish families and sometimes toast L’Chaim when they make a sale) and Madison Hildebrand, who is known for having killer abs. Many also tune in to watch the blunt quips from Flagg’s adorable grandmother Edith, who says exactly what’s on her mind. She survived the Holocaust, went to Palestine and then Los Angeles and became a fashion and clothing mogul after bringing polyester to the U.S market.
The protagonists face off in an episode of “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles”
I sat down with the three super brokers, who were joined by Altman’s fiance Heather Bilyeu and his brother and real-estate partner Matt, who appear on the show. Their personalities are as they are onscreen. Altman is cocksure, outspoken, and delivers the best lines. Flagg is quick witted, contemplative and sardonic. Hildebrand is sensitive, thoughtful and has a passion for ethics. Bilyeu is stunningly beautiful and quick to defend her man. Matt shares his brother’s determination, with a little less bravado.
Last season’s drama focused on a feud between Altman and Hildebrand. Hildebrand didn’t approve of his assistant Bilyeu (who became a broker) dating Altman and was furious when she had a co-listing with Altman, without letting him know. Hildebrand fired Bilyeu and at one of Flagg’s open houses, she threw wine at her former boss and claimed he owed her $7,000, a charge he disputed. On the show, Altman and Hildebrand traded verbal haymakers. Hildebrand has branched out from working in Malibu to Altman’s territory of Beverly Hills. In the interview, there were some pointed and humorous comments. Altman says he was and is never worried about Hildebrand.
“It was just too easy,” Altman said with a smile. “I don’t consider him competition at all.”
Asked if he’d ever have wine thrown in his face before, Hildebrand said it was the first and last.
“It was Manischewitz,” Flagg chimed in.
Flagg showed his boyfriend Colton the video of his bar-mitzvah in an episode last season and often makes jokes.
“There’s a lot of humor in Judaism, so I use it a lot,” he said.
Hildebrand found humor in Altman’s music video, “I Sell The Dream,” which included Altman rapping, breakdancing, and throwing money in the air.
“I was devastated for him,” Hildebrand said, implying that the video which got more than 1,000,000 hits on YouTube, was lame. “I think the effort was awesome. But the lyrics…I think they were fitting for him.”
Bilyeu was quick to defend her future husband’s actions.
“It was for charity, that was the purpose of it,” she said of the video which benefited the Wounded Warrior Project.
Asked if he should thank Madison for perhaps pushing Bilyeu into Altman’s arms by warning her against the guy, Altman was civil.
“If that’s what worked and got us to the point of where we’re at, sure thank you Madison,” Altman said.
Altman would not divulge the details of his marriage proposal to Bilyeu but he did say there was a lot of pressure on him to come up with something grandiose because of his persona and his reputation.
Altman said one difference about this season is that he and Flagg “will be at each other’s throats” and Flagg said he shows a more aggressive side this season.
Asked if their show was better than “Million Dollar Listing New York,” Flagg would only say the shows are different. But Hildebrand said that the New York show featured something that shouldn’t happen, namely a doctoring of photos by agent Luis Ortiz, who wanted a house to look more modern online.
“It shows he’s really an amateur,” Hildebrand said of Ortiz. “You can’t do that. It’s common knowledge. I consider myself ethical and we all try to do that. Being on TV, we have the spotlight on us so you can get called out if you don’t.”
Now that Altman is engaged, the spotlight is on Flagg and Hildebrand. Altman asked Flagg is he’s getting married to Colton.
“I guess that would be the next step,” Flagg said without giving an answer.
Hildebrand has a love interest on the show, and in the premiere, he tells his Israeli hairstylist Alon Shalom that he could see himself having a future with his new boyfriend.
All the cast members praised Grandma Edith and her contribution to the show. She came to America with a few dollars and made a vast fortune and was able to elude and even spy on the Nazis. These stories are told by Flagg, who recorded his grandmother’s words in the book, “A Simple Girl.”
Altman said the 93-year-old is one of the best parts of the show.
“We’re all huge fans of hers” he said. “She’s an amazing woman. Not just cause she deals with Josh Flagg. She is an inspiration. She runs around like a 19-year-old.”
Josh Altman said his parents suggested that he and his brother team up as The Altman Brothers. He said clients get two agents for the price of one and he added that they can have a big fight and be normal 30 seconds later.
So how do the three sharks manage to be on call for their clients around the clock and deal with the stress of having cameras around them all the time?
“I get high on closing deals and commissions,” Altman said. “They get high on something else.”
“Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles” airs Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m on Bravo.