New season rubs the glitter off Million Dollar Listings

Bravo's hit show Million Dollar Listing is back for a third season tonight, and more than three-quarters of a million viewers are setting the Tivo's and curling up with the latest issue of House Beautiful.

The show is focused on the sturm und drang surrounding three hot young real estate agents' manic efforts to list and sell homes in the high-end L.A. real estate market during what may well be the greatest housing crash in U.S. history. There's plenty of real estate pornography, and everyone is well-coiffed, drives a sexy car, and drinks plenty of Bling H20.

But how representative of millionaires is Million Dollar Listing, really? Not very representative at all. The show portrays the lifestyles of the big-spending glitterati who, as it turns out, actually comprise a tiny fraction of rich people in America. Consider this data point from Dr. Thomas J. Stanley's fabulous new book Stop Acting Rich.

  • "About 90% of millionaires lives in homes valued at under $1 million." Meanwhile only about 27% of homes valued at more than $1 million are owned by millionaires.