"Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles" may not have as much interpersonal melodrama as Netflix competitor "Selling Sunset," but the Bravo series about high-priced real estate and the high-energy personalities who sell it is not lacking for theatrics. (This one also showcases the properties a lot more, so that's cool.)
Josh Altman, one of the five "Million Dollar Listing L.A." stars, told TheWrap that his show's success actually regenerates its own drama. This cyclical effect is somewhat unique to Altman's industry, and it probably helps explain how this "Million Dollar Listing" installment is entering its 12th season.
In Episode 1201, Altman and rival Josh Flagg pair up to sell an insane La Jolla home nicknamed "The Razor," one that is said to have inspired Tony Stark's resident in the "Ironman" movies and comes with a price tag of $30 million. Altman and Flagg's cooperation here is unusual. They're usually battling each other -- as well as co-stars Tracy Tutor, James Harris and David Parnes -- for the same expensive listings, and it often gets ugly.
Unlike many unscripted series, the coincidental competition here isn't by the design of producers. It is a very real result of how being on television raises the profile of the businesses depicted (and glorified), and it is self-fulfilling.
"People go, 'Well, of course this is the fake. Why would they hire you and (Josh) Flagg?'" Altman told us in an interview ahead of Tuesday's season premiere. "You've got to realize that, because people are avid watchers of the show, I will go on listing appointments against Flagg, against [Harris and Parnes] and against Tracy -- weekly. Because people say, 'Oh, why don't I just call all of those people and we'll see who is the best out of them?'"
"So that's why the drama on the show is always going to be enough, because there are always people that just want to hire one of us and they're not sure who," he continued. "Every week, I'm talking to my wife: 'Guess who I'm up against again?' And it's really just the four people."
Altman is happy to be the "villain" among that group -- even though that heel reputation (to borrow a perfectly applicable pro-wrestling term here) is getting a little harder to maintain now that he's married with kids, presenting a soft side the cameras capture.
"I try to keep that up. It's a lot tougher when people start to realize that I'm actually a good guy," Altman said. "I'm a human being and then they look on my Instagram and see, 'Oh, he's actually a pretty good father, too."
"I love being a villain because a villain is not-- a villain on a real-estate show is not necessarily a bad person," he added. "It's just somebody who is not doing the norm and who will do things that the other people on the show won't do. So the 'villain' for me, it was more about being more aggressive than everybody else on the show, being more cutthroat than everybody else on the show."
Altman then proudly stated that if we asked frienemy Flagg, he'd tell us the same. We didn't do that. We don't have to, we've seen the show. And, yeah.
"I definitely was more hateable back in the day. But I think kids make you less hateable," Altman said. "So I'm going to have a couple more and then people will just f---ing love me."
Baby steps on that baby exploitation into the America's Sweetheart role, Josh.
Season 12 of "Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles" premieres with a supersized episode on Tuesday starting at 10/9c on Bravo.