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Licensed Associate Broker
|Dec. 6, 2010||| Caroline Grane||Tweet|
By JENNIFER GOULD KEIL
Call them the Realty Housewives of New York.
Shooting starts today on the New York spin-off of "Million Dollar Listing."
But this version of the popular reality show appears to bear more resemblance to the successful "Real Housewives" series than to the original, which is a kind of office soap opera about an eccentric Beverly Hills real estate firm.
The characters in the New York version include Fredrik Eklund, a Swedish, gay ex-porn star turned Manhattan real estate hottie, and his business partner John Gomes.
Another Swedish bombshell, Caroline Grane, described by colleagues as "pretty and personable," a graduate of the University of Stockholm's masters of finance program, is also in the cast.
CHANNEL CHANGE: Caroline Grane (above) will star in a "Million Dollar
Listing" spin-off. "Selling NYC" is HGTV's Real Estate hit.
Agents are flocking to firms featured on TV now.
Her trademark look is designer suits, "tight skirts and trim blazers," a colleague said.
The fourth cast member is Michael Lorber, the soft-spoken, smart, eligible bachelor on the show. He is also the son of real-estate powerhouse Prudential Douglas Elliman's chairman, Howard Lorber.
Bravo, the cable network that airs both the original "Million Dollar Listing" and the "Housewives" series (there are now six), declined to discuss the new series -- not set to air until next fall -- while it is in production.
But from sources familiar with plans for the series, it appears to follow the "Houswives" formula -- strong, contrasting personalities who travel in the same circle but each with their own story and who clash whenever things threaten to get too boring.
It is in stark contrast to the establishment, New York real estate series -- HGTV's prim and posh "Selling New York."
"Selling" is about the properties -- high-end, aspirational real estate with a story to tell.
"Listings" will be about the office conflicts and after-work lives of the brokers, sources say.
That suits HGTV fine. The second season of "Selling" begins next month and a West Coast version is on the way, according to a source.
The stars -- a mother-and-daughters team, Michele Kleier, Sabrina and Samantha; Shaun Osher, the founder of CORE; and, next season, brokers from the high-profile firm Warburg Realty, such as Richard Steinberg -- are hand-picked for their wholesome business images.
Several sources tell The Post that Eklund jumped real estate firms when HGTV refused to let the ex-porn star appear on "Selling."
Grane, too, was poached by a firm, Nest Seekers International, that wanted her because she was going to be on the Bravo show and could bring the firm some unbeatable publicity.
"The reality shows are a great opportunity to expand a broker's brand, presence and notoriety -- and it's a great listing tool," said an industry source who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Still, brokers are aware that reality-TV notoriety is a two-edged blade.
Some old-school real estate firms, like The Corcoran Group, Brown Harris Stevens and Sotheby's, are keeping their people off reality TV.
"We already have an established brand, so we don't want one or two brokers out there defining our brand for us," said Pam Liebman, Corcoran's CEO.
Howard Lorber, PDE's CEO, embraces television as just another way to sell homes.
"It's the Old World vs. the New World," he says. "But it works both ways. If brokers look like idiots, it's a bad thing."
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