As CNBC's new real estate reality show "The Deed" aired Wednesday night for the first time, its star, Sidney Torres IV, watched alongside a couple hundred friends at a premiere party in the heart of New Orleans.
Torres hosted the party at The Monastery, a former Carmelite monastery in the 1200 block of North Rampart Street in the French Quarter that he bought in 2016. Guests, including his mother, Earline Torres, his grandmother, Lena Torres, and entertainer Chris Owens, watched a live feed from the CNBC broadcast on a theater-size screen set up for that purpose.
In the minutes leading up to the 9 p.m. broadcast, Torres posed for pictures, greeted a steady stream of well-wishers and, true to his reputation for micro-managing real estate projects, fussed over the lighting levels in the main room.
Torres, the scion of a prominent St. Bernard Parish family, has developed homes and hotels in New Orleans, as well as a resort in the Bahamas. He has founded two trash hauling companies, as well as an investment firm.
Before Wednesday's screening, Jim Ackerman, the CNBC vice-president who developed "The Deed," spoke briefly about how well-suited Torres is for television. "When he commits, he's all in," Ackerman said.
In his own remarks, Torres singled out his grandmother, who is in her 90s, for co-signing a loan he used to buy his first fixer-upper, in the 7600 block of Burthe Street, 20 years ago. She also helped care for him as he wrestled with substance abuse.
"When I was going through rough times, she would feed me when I was not in the best of shape," he said.
As Sidney Torres IV — sheathed in black, sunglasses on, hair slicked into a tidy man-bun — s…
The first of four hour-long episodes of "The Deed" to feature Torres centered on his dealings with Nicole Webre. Webre bought a former bakery in the Irish Channel, tore it down and subdivided the plot into individual lots, intending to build upscale homes on each and sell them. She borrowed money from her parents, in addition to taking out loans.
When the lots and the first two houses she built on the site didn't sell, she found herself overextended and unable to keep up with her monthly payments.
Producers of the show selected her for Torres as an investment client. One of the premises of "The Deed" is that he must loan his own money, but then earns a piece of the project's profits, if any materialize.
Following Wednesday's broadcast, Torres said he initially believed he was being forced to make a bad investment with Webre. "I knew I wanted to be on TV, but I didn't want to be on TV that bad," he said.
For her part, Webre -- whose Bakery Village development ended up making money for both Torres and herself -- said he is "as kind and personable as he comes across" on TV.
Outside on North Rampart, a mobile billboard was illuminated with ads for "The Deed." As guests left, they received gift bags containing customized "The Deed" T-shirts, baseball caps and chocolates.
The premiere party also promoted the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Torres has been nominated to take part in the organization's 2017 "Man & Woman of the Year" fundraising competition.