Agents across the country reacted when Ryan Serhant and Bess Freedman sparred on the subject of whether reality TV is good or bad for the real estate industry.

Byron Lazine explains the situation in more detail here: 

An Instagram post by TheRealDeal’s Ryan Serhant pushes back on CEO Bess Freedman’s claims that reality TV shows – particularly those like Selling Sunset – are misleading and harmful to the public’s perception of real estate agents.


The poll we conducted on BAM’s Instagram Story was close, with a 12% lead of agents coming to the conclusion that reality TV is bad for real estate.

Commenters did not hold back

Selling Sunset is straight 🗑”


“It’s good for getting new clients interested in real estate.”


“It’s terrible for preparing the next generation of realtors who think it’s glamorous or just showing houses and not spending half your week prospecting”

also @zacshipley

“Reality TV is a misnomer. The work of a Realtor is supposed to be about helping buyers and sellers navigate one of the biggest and most stressful transactions of their life.”


“Bad. It’s fake. Nothing about it is how a transaction really goes.”


“It’s fake, but you watch it. Loosen up a little and enjoy life. It’s entertainment.”


“The only thing reality tv benefits is the agents that are on it.”


Serhant’s Response

In his own response to Freedman’s comments on reality TV, Ryan Serhant posted a “raw response” video on his Instagram page Sunday evening arguing that “reality shows about real estate have benefited the industry by encouraging young people to enter it.⁠”

Here’s a bit of what he has to say in his video:

“What reality TV for real estate has done is it’s brought the business to millions of people who otherwise might not have been interested in it. I mean, look at HGTV, look at the Property Brothers, Do you think that the fact that the Property Brothers were able to renovate a full house and have fun with it and do it in 22 minutes has hurt the general contracting business? No! It’s put the idea of investing into your home, flipping, getting into the real estate business in general to millions and millions and millions of people. It’s been great. And it’s been really entertaining….”

Ryan Serhant

And here are some of the comments:

“You’re the entire reason I got my license. You showed me it was possible to start from nothing. I will work for your company one day and make it big in NYC like I’ve always dreamed and it’s thanks to you. My kids will have college funds that I never had, thanks to you and your “reality tv show”. People can stay mad that you have more success than them because you aren’t slowing down.”


“Reality TV is poison.”


“Umm….sounds like you were setup. Between two 100 plus year-old firms, no less. No matter what though, what works, works. Right? And your spice and flavor is working. Quite well. Not impressed with their treatment at all. Let that be blasted to the world via Internet. Ryan, you hold your own. Keep on keeping on.”


What Many Commenters Can Agree On

The main concession offered by commenters who still see value in reality TV shows is that the term “reality tv” is a misnomer.

These shows do not reflect the reality of the work real estate agents do. 

“Shows like Selling Sunset give false ideas to what the industry is all about. It purports a narrative that didn’t exist in the day-to-day business of our profession.”


“I think Ryan has a point and I agree that the industry should embrace changes on how consumers consume real estate BUT Bess Friedman has my vote on Selling Sunset. That show has nothing to do with real estate, let’s be honest…”


This debate ties into a larger conversation on the value of reality TV shows for any industry, whether it’s real estate, cooking, dancing, or something else. In each case, people inside the industry have varying opinions on these shows – from misleading or damaging to useful and highly entertaining.

We’d love to know your thoughts on this as a real estate agent. Is there a place for reality TV – and the depiction of drama and questionable behavior (or attire) in the world of real estate?

Also, if you watch Selling Sunset yourself, what do you love or hate about it?