By Chase Hill / March 19, 2019

Inside the Making of Ode to Extravagance, “Billions”

“We always joke, ‘billionaire, not millionaire.’”

billions wealth porn
Shows like "Billions" that feature the lives of the uber-wealthy can be considered "wealth porn."(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Showtime)

Shows like “Billions,” which returns to Showtime for its fourth season this weekend, are spawning a new ultra-ultra-ultra-luxe lifestyle for people to drool over. It’s the lifestyle of the 1% of the 1%.

Wealth porn is nothing new. People have been gathering around the TV to obsess over the lives, homes, and clothes of the rich and famous for decades. Shows like “Dynasty” and “Dallas,” and even “Gossip Girl” have let viewers into the estates of some of the wealthiest, and most ridiculous, families in American pop culture.

Aidan Sleep, a locations manager for “Billions,” told The New York Times: “We always joke, ‘billionaire, not millionaire.” When it comes to selecting locations for the series, a $65 million triplex wasn’t impression enough to make the show.

One thing “Billions” show creator David Levien keeps in mind when is that the super-wealthy aren’t always quick to have their homes or closets photographed.

“When they hit the billion and above number, they’re no longer in a place where they have to impress anybody by their outward trappings,” Levien said.

When flipping through page after page of Vogue or Architectural Digest isn’t working, Levien hires “wealth consultants.”

One of these advisers emailed the show’s creators to complain about a private jet featured in an episode. “I wouldn’t be caught dead in that sardine can,” the email said. That “sardine can” can be purchased for about $40 million.

The clothes that “Billions” stars are wearing add to the wealth porn created by the hit show- one t-shirt that Bobby Axelrod wears comes from Italian ready-to-wear designer Loro Piana and retails for around $2,000.

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