“We weren’t canceled”: Nixed by Netflix, Nest Seekers settles for Discovery+

Brokerage’s Hamptons reality series will stream on smaller platform next year

National /
Nov.November 16, 2021 08:45 AM
Million Dollar Beach House reincarnates as Selling the Hamptons on Discovery+

Nest Seekers International’s JB Andreassi and Michael Fulfree with Peggy Zabakolas of Million Dollar Beach House (Nest Seekers International)

Nest Seekers International insists Netflix did not cancel “Million Dollar Beach House,” a reality show following some of the brokerage’s Hamptons agents.

But don’t look for new episodes on the streaming giant: Season Two was never filmed.

Nest Seekers won’t disappear from the small screen, however. Three agents from “Million Dollar Beach House” and three Nest Seekers colleagues will star in “Selling the Hamptons,” a new show to air on Discovery+ early next year.

Deadline first reported news of the new series in May, shortly after Discovery announced its $43 billion merger with AT&T’s WarnerMedia.

The six-episode “Beach House” debuted on Netflix just over a year ago. Reviews were not good, prompting speculation about its future. Nest Seekers president and CEO Eddie Shapiro told The Real Deal it is “not correct” to say the show was canceled, but deferred further comment to Diga Studios, the production company. Neither Diga nor Netflix responded to inquiries.

The change of networks will shrink Nest Seekers’ spotlight dramatically. Netflix has 214 million subscribers, while Discovery has just 20 million, most of them from Discovery+ (the network does not say how many).

As the first show did, the new, eight-episode series follows Nest Seekers agents J.B. Andreassi, Michael Fulfree and Peggy Zabakolas as they showcase the Hamptons’ luxurious homes. They will be joined by fellow agents Bianca D’Alessio, Kenny Arias and Mia Calabrese.

Notably absent this time are Noel Roberts and James Giugliano, though Shapiro said Giuliano is “very much part of the show.”

Roberts declined to comment on his absence from “Selling the Hamptons.” Giugliano did not respond to requests for comment.

Some outlets described Roberts as the “villain” of the Netflix series, akin to Christine Quinn of Netflix series “Selling Sunset.” Others called out what they saw as racist microaggressions toward Roberts, the show’s lone Black agent, by his colleagues. (Disclaimer: Reality shows are typically scripted to add drama.)

Discovery+ seems likely to focus more on the real estate than the Netflix show did.

“Through Nest Seekers, we had an incredible opportunity to obtain access to some of the most beautiful homes in the Hamptons,” said Betsy Ayala, senior vice president of production and development for HGTV, an arm of Discovery.

She added that the Nest Seekers agents have “dynamic, charismatic and compelling” personalities that suit the show’s format. It will touch on various parts of the business, not just brokerage, Shapiro said.

“It’s a bigger mix of people and it’s going to be an amazing show about the busiest year of real estate in the Hamptons,” Shapiro said. “It was an epic year; I think any agency out there can confirm that. From a volume and price point, it was the greatest year ever. It was for us.”

The series was filmed this summer, when Hamptons listings dipped to some of the lowest levels the area had ever seen, sparking bidding wars that drove up prices.

Reviews of “Million Dollar Beach House” described the show as “flat,” lacking the depth and excitement viewers seek from reality TV shows starring real estate agents. But a lot has changed in “Selling the Hamptons,” Fulfree said.

“It is a completely different show than the first one, how it’s formatted,” Fulfree said. “We were all in the infancy of our careers, the first year being in real estate. Now it’s more serious, we take things differently.”

Fulfree said the agents have since had time to better learn the business.

“When we filmed [the first season in 2019], the market was not at all what it is now,” Fulfree said. “Beforehand, you really had to beg for a listing and hope a deal would get done. The market has swung for the better.”

Though Diga Studios is still the production company, and Andreassi, Fulfree and Zabakolas will be reprising their roles, the new show is unaffiliated with “Million Dollar Beach House.” It’s a brand new show that was commissioned by Discovery+ earlier this year, HGTV’s Ayala said.

Ayala expressed confidence in the new series, in which the six agents try to make their mark on the exclusive East End.

“This series will lean heavily into the gorgeous properties and the journey of these agents during what was one of the hottest selling seasons in recent history,” she said.





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