OK, we have the drop-dead gorgeous Madison Hildebrand who revealed on national TV that he's gay so now he gets fan mail from both sexes; the scruffy-bearded Josh Flagg who's best friends with his grandma who brought polyester to America; and now we have Josh Altman -- a.k.a The Shark.
Welcome to season four of Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing," which premieres Feb. 3, and is expected to top more than 1.2 million viewers per episode this season as the three rock stars of the high-end real estate world clash, close deals and clink glasses to celebrate -- only generally not with one another.
Tensions between the three are expected to be a large part of this season's drama. Truth is, the three of them are cut from distinctively different cloths and if there is any character casting to be had, figure Altman to be the aggressive cut-throater out to make a killing. In his own words -- "the shark." Speculation is he's the guy viewers will love to hate, a role that some say he relishes.Since he's the new guy on the block, all eyes -- at least the eyes in Bravo's publicity department -- are on the 31-year-old Altman who hangs his shingle with the real estate office of Hilton & Hyland, a boutique Beverly Hills firm where the Hilton in the name is indeed that Hilton.
Newbie Altman in a no-nonsense, in-your-face kind of guy. He lives to sell fancy homes to fancy people and thrives on the game of outsmarting his competitors. He explains the show's appeal thusly: "People want to get a look inside multi-million dollar homes. We take them there." That simple, yes, but add in a big dash of Hollywood-style glamor and lifestyles of the rich and prickly.
Altman says the show will follow him into his multi-million dollar listings and everywhere else he goes, which includes Los Angeles' A-list clubs and parties. Altman likely didn't need the show's bounce to get past any red velvet ropes; he and his older brother Matthew -- who worked for eight years as a talent agent with firms including Creative Artists Agency -- are already well-known for hanging with the cool crowd.
Josh Altman counts Paris Hilton among his clients and also listed Kim Kardashian's house -- among other celebrities'. The brothers sold $38 million worth of property in 2010 and have about $80 million in listings now. Josh Altman says the only role he'll play on the show is that of himself. "I work 24/7. I am always about business, always available for my clients. I'm a nice guy, but I'm aggressive and will do anything to get the deal done. Anything."
Imagine, and he's only been in Los Angeles for nine years. The one listing that gets his chops drooling is Candy Spelling's Bel-Air mansion, currently listed jointly by the head of his agency and two other offices. At $150 million, it's the most expensive residential listing in America.
Altman admits that he doesn't "mess around" with other agents who leave half-baked messages for him. "I don't have time to waste. You have an offer? Let me hear it. Other than that, what do we have to talk about?" His bark may be worse than his bite, but of course we have to tune in to the show for more evidence of that.
Altman was born and raised in Massachusetts and went to college at Syracuse University. He was working in the mail-room of a music management company, The Firm, back in 2004 when he first dipped his toe into real estate. He bought a house with his brother, slapped a coat of fresh paint on it, and then flipped it three months later for a $200,000 profit. He quit the mail-room shortly thereafter. Hooked on selling real estate as a way to make big money, his career path was paved by the many entertainment industry connections he and his brother had made.
Altman says that his bread and butter is selling homes in the Hollywood Hills, Bel-Air and Beverly Hills, but that he sells everywhere. "I know how the whole L.A. scene works. This is my niche. In Los Angeles, it's all about who you know and I know everybody." Sure sounds like he doesn't intend to play nice with the other boys, doesn't it?
Season four of the show is expected to spotlight a lot more of Madison's dating life. He has a few blind dates as he tries to find Mr. Right. Josh Flagg? Expect more practicing his golf putt with Grandma in her living room as she doles out life advice. And expect the Good Josh to take on the Evil Josh on more than one occasion.
"The other two agents and I don't see eye-to-eye," says Altman. "We have different selling styles."
He just sold his own home and is actively looking to buy again; he wants a fixer-upper. Perhaps viewers will be privy to the home-buying process and be able to watch The Shark as he negotiates for himself?
Managing your Portfolio
Keeping your portfolio and financial life fit!View Course »