The Real Deal New York

“Renting” New York: Rapid Realty tries its hand at reality television

Rental brokerage is pitching networks on a show for “the 99 percent”
By Hayley Kaplan | January 28, 2013 06:00PM

Rapid Realty, the massive Brooklyn-based franchise rental brokerage, is aiming to get into the reality television game, with a series about real estate for “the 99 percent” and the agents who work with them.

Where other realty reality offerings focus on multi-million dollar listings and ultra-wealthy clientele, the Rapid show will examine “what it’s like for a customer to come to New York, deal with the shell shock, approval process and all the melee that goes into actually getting a decent apartment in New York,” Anthony Lolli, the firm’s founder and CEO, told The Real Deal.

Although Rapid has not yet secured a network for the series, the show is being produced by Leopard Films, the producer of HGTV’s “House Hunters International,” “Hidden Potential,” and other real estate-themed programs.

Rapid signed the deal with Leopard about six months ago after negotiating with three other production companies, Lolli said. He declined to disclose the deal’s terms, except to say that Leopard was funding the series. So far, three episodes have been filmed.

Lolli has pitched the show to three networks, which he declined to name, and is waiting for a response. The show does not yet have a name, although one working title is “Work Hard Play Hard.”

Each episode features a new agent and apartment seeker. The show will also go behind the scenes, looking at how new agents struggle to pay the rent by making deals, and how Lolli, Chief Operating Officer Carlos Angelucci and the dozens of individuals who own Rapid franchises across New York City run the business.

“[Lolli’s] always on the go, works 20 hours a day, travels a lot,” Gabriel Chapman, Rapid Realty’s media director, said. “He’s a young guy that didn’t come from money and made himself. It’s like seeing Richard Branson before [he] became a billionaire.”

However, Deborah Lupard, a broker at Warburg Realty who has appeared on HGTV’s “Selling New York,” was skeptical that a brokerage could manage both the business and a show.

“I don’t know if that’s such a good idea,” she said. “Either you’re a firm that sells apartments or you’re a reality show.”

Though some of Rapid’s agents were concerned about their privacy, about 300 others auditioned at a casting call. The producers looked for cast members that viewers could “root for or root against” who would be prepared for the increased exposure, Lolli said.

“We wanted to make sure that we picked somebody that was okay with stardom and okay with endorsements and [could] go along with the ride in the long haul,” he said.

The team ultimately chose about 110 individuals to appear on the show or in the background. Participants will get a share of the profits from Lolli’s production company, Lolli Brand Entertainment.

“We knew that they might turn into superstars and we wanted to reward their efforts and ourselves at the same time,” Lolli said.

Chapman, who lives in part of Lolli’s home that’s been converted into a studio and often organizes brokerage parties at their house, got involved in the show after attending the casting call. “I’m just kind of along for the ride because it’s fun,” he said. “I try not to be cast in a bad light.”

The agency’s reality show plans began when a producer at MTV approached Lolli about making the show. The producer eventually moved to “House Hunters International” and Leopard Films, which expressed interest in the idea.

Still, the show joins an increasingly crowded pool of programs that focus on New York real estate, such as “Selling New York,” which stars brokers from Warburg, Core and Kleier Residential, and Bravo TV’s “Million Dollar Listing New York,” which stars Douglas Elliman’s Fredrik Eklund and Nest Seekers International’s Ryan Serhant. (Cast member Michael Lorber, of Elliman, left the show after the first season.)

But Lupard said the new show would not face stiff competition. “There’s room for more of anything,” she said.

Leopard Films did not respond to requests for comment.

  • Brittany

    with all the bad reviews how are they planning to be on TV.

    • Kells

      lol! Exactly! Such a joke.

      • Commonsense

        Nothing here, but 2 butthurt people who blame everyone else for their shortcomings.

  • Jokes


  • Peter

    No one rents more than rapid in nyc

    • Dave L

      My favorite part?? Watching the guys who make all of 38k a year (never mind the ones that made nada)dress and act like ballers….. Too funny.

      • Commonsense

        My favorite part: Jealous haters posting anonymously behind a keyboard knowing they will never have the kind of success those working at Rapid will and do have. Too funny

  • This could be a glorious train-wreck, which always makes for compelling reality TV.

    • Commonsense

      Don’t be jealous you aren’t good enough to be on TV

      • live and learn

        Commonsense must be working for them. I know several agents and their ethics are lacking! Instead of looking out for their clients they look out for themselves!

  • Commonsense

    Thank God there are other boroughs then

  • Commonsense

    Jealous much?

  • TheRealOne

    I’ve used Rapid Realty for years! ♥♥♥ can’t wait to watch the Fahme brothers on TV! WE LOVE YOU ANTHONY LOLLI! AND CARLOS ;-)

  • Know better now

    I wonder if they’ll show Rapid Realty agents collecting “refundable” deposits and then refusing to give them back until threatened with legal action?

  • jon

    Rapid Realty talk about a bunch of low life tacky un professional agents.
    Dept. of State hello?
    This firm is filled with a bunch of losers and the Brooklyn crew is beyond obnoxious
    Btw, it is illegal to collect a refundable deposit.
    Only firms like RAPID practice this way.

  • jon

    Totally agree lowest of the lowest grade of agents work there!