“Simple Life” renewed, despite Hilton-Richie feud
By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – It’s been more than a year since
they went from best buddies to bitter enemies, but Paris Hilton
and Nicole Richie have agreed to renew their TV partnership for
another season of “The Simple Life.”
Cable channel E! Entertainment Television, the show’s new
home since it was canceled after three years on the Fox
broadcast network, said on Wednesday the feuding “celebutantes”
will return for a fifth season of their series in 2007.
The half-hour reality show is now in its fourth season,
featuring Hilton and Richie taking turns assuming the role of
housewife for various host families.
Because the two stars have remained steadfast in their
estrangement since April 2005, their scenes have largely been
shot separately, with little overall interaction between the
Nevertheless, “The Simple Life” has proven a big success
for E!, drawing over 1.5 million viewers a week to more than
triple the network’s prime-time average. Moreover, the network
said at least 12 million viewers in total have tuned in to
reruns of the show’s first 36 episodes, which E! also is
The series became a hit after debuting on Fox in December
2003 starring the Hilton hotel heiress and her favorite party
pal, the daughter of singer Lionel Richie, mixing with common
folk as they worked real jobs in America’s heartland.
But the show’s future fell into doubt after three seasons
when a highly publicized rift developed between the pampered
pair, though no explanation for their spat was ever given.
Relations became so strained, in fact, that the two
socialites and their entourages were kept separated — and in
the dark about the other’s whereabouts — for a publicity
junket arranged by E! earlier this year.
Chris Alexander, a spokesman for the show’s producer 20th
Century Fox Television, said “the girls were still not talking”
when the current season was shot in March and April, though
they agreed to film some segments together.
The first episode opened with a scene in which the two
encounter each other in a coffee shop.
Hilton enters with her dog, orders a cup of coffee, buys a
cookie and sends it to Richie’s table, where a close-up of the
cookie reveals the message, written in frosting, “Good luck,
bitch.” The two then glare at each other.
Alexander said no decisions have been made about what
direction the upcoming fifth season will take creatively.
“When we shoot the fifth season, we’ll determine what their
relationship is at the time,” he said.