'Selling Sunset' Boss Adam DiVello on Emmy Nom, New Cast Members and 'The Hills' Reboot (Exclusive)
The Netflix reality series, Selling Sunset, is once again an Emmy nominee. The series, which follows the personal and professional lives of the real estate agents at the Oppenheim Group, has garnered its second consecutive nomination for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program. And executive producer Adam DiVello is not taking the recognition for granted.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” the series creator says. “The first thing I thought to say, that we were two-time nominees, is unbelievable. It was completely unexpected last season. And again, we just don’t take anything for granted and we’re just so grateful to the Television Academy for the nomination.”
While speaking to ET about the series’ nomination for the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards, DiVello also opens up about why this series has garnered awards recognition over other long-running reality programs, how the cast members’ off-screen drama will play into seasons 6 and 7, and what he thinks of the latest reboot of The Hills.
ET: When you get news like this, will the cast and crew find time to celebrate? Are you guys gonna get together at all?
Adam DiVello: We’re between seasons right now. We’re just about to start season 6. So, we have a big group text going and we’ve all been blasting each other back and forth. I know Jason and Brett are on a plane right now, flying back from Mykonos and I think everyone’s just kind of returning back to L.A, so we’re all texting. But I’m sure once we are all in the same state again, we’ll celebrate in some way, shape or form.
Who among the text chain has had the best reaction?
That’s a good question. They’re pretty much all the same. Lots of the fireworks emojis. But I think Chelsea [Lazkani]’s probably the most excited because it was in her first season with us. And she’s ready to bring it.
What is it about Selling Sunset in particular that you think has resonated with the Academy and is garnering attention over shows like the Housewives or even The Hills back in the day?
That’s a great question. I mean, back in the day, I don’t think shows like The Hills were getting nominated for Emmys. You know, the world’s changed so much and the television landscape has changed so much to make room for shows like this. I don’t know what makes it stand out from the Housewives and those other shows.
I guess the only difference is, like, these are very aspirational women, you know? They’re very empowered women and they’re working and they’re building their careers and they’re building their business and they’re making money and they’re actually out there hustling to do a job and to do it well. They’re kind of the best of the best. So, I think maybe there’s a bit of aspiration to it that maybe some other shows don’t have.
Given just how big season 5 was, how do you hope to continue to up the ante moving forward?
Just everything has to be bigger and better. Bigger home, bigger sales. I mean, we already have a lot in the works. You know, the Oppenheim Group, as an agency, has gotten bigger, and so has their listings and their roster. We have a couple new agents joining the season. So, there’s gonna be some new faces on the show.
With the cast becoming celebrities in their own right and garnering headlines in between seasons for their personal and professional news, how do you know what to bring into the show and make sure it’s included in the next season?
I think that the social media stuff helps keep the viewers engaged between seasons. It’s a long stretch between our seasons. But thankfully, there is social media that keeps them in the public eye. So, I think some of those stories will obviously trickle into next season and some won’t. I think that if it’s not really relevant to real estate or to any of the stories we’ve told so far, we usually stay away from it.
Certainly, you know, we left last season with a lot of cliffhangers. And so, I think we’re gonna pick back up on that this season and answer a lot of the questions that we left people with last season.
Speaking of cliffhangers, I think the biggest one on everybody’s mind is what is Christine Quinn's future on the show? Can you at least set the record straight on that?
I don’t have anything to share at this point. I’m sorry, I don’t.
In terms of the rest of the cast, you said you’re bringing on new people. How do you know when to expand or bring on new cast members?
It’s a reality show. So, we just kind of followed Jason’s lead and Jason runs the place and he hires people as needed. And I think as the agency grows, they need more agents and I think that it’s all him. So, if he hires new people then we put them on the show. That’s kind of how it works. So, we’re very fortunate that he’s found a couple great new agents that we’re very excited to introduce.
You said earlier that with future seasons, it’s all about getting bigger and just upping the ante. But do you see where the flow or the direction of the show can go moving forward? Obviously, it’s real-estate based, but do you ever look at what other stories you can actually tell within the setup of Selling Sunset?
Well, it’s kind of evolved as the seasons have gone by, right? I think season 1 was very real-estate heavy. And then with the introduction of Chrishell [Stause], we kind of got into her life. When she got a divorce, suddenly her personal life became part of the show, which we didn’t set up to do at first. And then their personal lives started taking a bigger turn. And then, obviously, when she started dating Jason that affects the storyline.
So, I think that we’ll just see more of their personal lives and more of what they have going on even outside of work as well as just even more sales and more real estate.
Since you mentioned Chrishell’s relationships, can we look forward to her latest [with G Flip] being a part of the series? Do you think that will have a significant impact on the new season?
You know, we just started pre-production last week, so I don’t have an answer on that just yet. But whenever we embark on a new season, we sit down with each of the cast members and talk about what’s going on, what’s happening in their lives and what they’re willing to share. So, we’re hoping that she’ll be open and let us show that side of her life.
Chrishell’s been a trouper from day one. I applaud her every season that she gives us as much as she does. And I’m hoping she continues to do so.
When someone like Maya Vander, who left the show after season 5, is sharing so much of her personal life on social media and what’s going on with her, do you think about going back and revisiting with her to kind of tie things up, or have plans to check in with people who have left the series?
For sure. And we never considered Maya leaving the show whatsoever. She’ll be back. She’ll be back once in a while. I think for her, with all the babies and the traveling, it’s just a little too much to be here every week for filming. So, I think that when there’s an event or there’s something special happening, we’ll certainly see her.
With Selling Sunset being renewed through season 7 -- I think this is a show that people can follow for a long time -- but have you thought about an end date or do you just keep pushing forward until told otherwise?
I don’t ever think of an end date when I come up with these, when we do these shows. I think that it’s all about the cast, right? So, as long as we have a good cast, we can keep going and we will keep going. And I think that Jason is on board for the long haul. You know, agents are gonna come and go. And like a Housewives, it doesn’t really have to come to an end. You can keep going.
Also, there are other incarnations of it. Like, Selling the OC is coming out next month and that’s Jason’s office in Orange County. That’s a whole other cast of agents. So, I think if anything, we can not only keep going, but I think we could branch out to other cities in other areas.
With the news that The Hills is being rebooted with an all-new cast, are you a part of that at all? Are you interested to see where that goes?
I’m not a part of it at all other than, you know, I created the original series. I’m not a part of the new one. So, it’ll be interesting to see. I don’t really know much about it. I only know what you’ve read, so I’m just as curious to see what it’s all about.
The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards will be handed out live Monday, Sept. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on NBC and Peacock.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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