When Selling Sunset premiered on Netflix in 2019, no one could have predicted the higher-end version of an HGTV real estate show would turn out to be such a juicy docusoap. But that's just what happened, with each season becoming more popular than the last. In light of the series' growing fame, it was inevitable that there would be more shows like it. Million Dollar Beach House, which premiered Aug. 26, seems to be next in line. But fans have many questions about the new series: For one thing, when was Million Dollar Beach House filmed? For a show that arrived in mid-2020, everyone seems remarkably unconcerned about the coronavirus.
It's a fair question, since reality series airing this summer have pretty much all addressed the pandemic, the new rules about social distancing, and safety precautions. Big Brother, for instance, currently airing on CBS, brings up the topic regularly. But the up-and-coming real estate agents on Million Dollar Beach House don't even seem aware of it. That's because Netflix filmed Million Dollar Beach House back in the summer of 2019, before the pandemic was upending life in the U.S
Many viewers aren't used to the idea of reality shows being filmed in advance the way movies are. That's because most broadcast series still follow the same model that's been in place since the 1950s and 60s. Back then, series were considered disposable entertainment and were produced as it aired. This small window between filming and airing is why the pandemic forced series like Riverdale and Grey's Anatomy to cut their seasons short.
Unlike broadcast, however, Netflix doesn't film within a few weeks of shows airing. The idea of the "marathon" model of dropping all episodes at once meant filming has to be complete before a show's premiere. This decision to come at the process differently accidentally made the streamer somewhat "pandemic-proof" (or at least more so than broadcast TV), with filming completed at least a year out for most series.
In April, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos revealed the streamer had filmed nearly everything planned for 2020 before the pandemic began.
According to The Verge, Sarandos said:
Our 2020 slate of series and films are largely shot and are in post-production stages in locations all over the world. And we’re actually pretty deep into our 2021 slate. We don’t anticipate moving the schedule around much, and certainly not in 2020.
That slate of shows finished long before masks were mandatory and social distancing was necessary includes Million Dollar Beach House. It makes the show one of the ultimate reality show escapist series out currently, a reminder of how it was in the before times. Considering Million Dollar Beach House is all about soapy escapist real estate daydreams, it's just one more bonus for Netflix's newest show.
All six episodes of Million Dollar Beach House are streaming now.