The UAE is finally getting its own local reality TV show surrounding the professional and personal lives of real estate agents in Dubai and Abu Dhabi thanks to StarzPlay Arabia, which has partnered with AD-based Aldar Properties for the series.
The show, which is based on the American hit reality TV series franchise Million Dollar Listing (MDL), will debut this year in 2023 exclusively on the platform, co-founder and CEO of StarzPlay Arabia Maaz Sheikh tells Frankly.
The Bravo network show MDL, which has had 14 seasons so far, gives viewers a look inside some of the world’s most expensive properties. It originally began in Los Angeles in 2006.
“It was started in LA and it’s called Million Dollar Listing. So, this [UAE] show is more about the real estate agents and property dealers and their lifestyles and culture, and very hyper competitive environment, and real estate as an industry,” Sheikh says.
“The [MDL] show has been made in different cities in the US… and so we’re bringing that format to UAE… It’s a show that’s going to be primarily focused on Abu Dhabi and Dubai real estate. The show is not about the real estate per se but more about people who work in that real estate industry and those sales agents and their lives and the drama that goes on, professionally speaking, in their lives,” he adds.
Sheikh says the UAE show will host some of the LA show’s original cast members, and will follow suit in the American version’s storytelling angle in terms of its focus on the agents’ lives.
“There’s going to be some surprise cast from the original show In LA. So there’s some guest appearances there, but most of the focus is on local talent. We’re partnering with Aldar Properties so they’ve come on board as one of the strategic partners for us,” Sheikh says.
“It’s going to be a great show. We’re quite excited about it because real estate and property in our part of thew world is such a hot topic over dinner, coffee, work, at home, everyone talks about real estate. So, socially, it’s a very relevant topic,” he adds.
Last year, StarzPlay rival Netflix launched its own UAE show called Dubai Bling, which focuses on the lives of millionaires in the city. It features Emirati DJ Bliss, radio host and entrepreneur Kris Fade, and is set to introduce a second season featuring prominent beauty and internet personality Mona Kattan of the Huda Beauty business.
While show was one of the region’s most watched on Netflix, it received divisive reviews.
Sheikh is hoping the real estate show will appeal to a wider audience.
“I think it’s not going to be as controversial [as Dubai Bling]. Hopefully it appeals to a wider segment of audience cause again, we’re trying to reach – this is not a show just for the Gen Z – we’re hoping to attract a much wider audience with this,” he says.