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Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie became household names in 2003 after The Simple Life premiered on Fox. The reality TV series caused many people to wonder if Hilton was as much of a ‘blond, rich, air-head” in real life as she came across on television. Here’s what Hilton has said about playing up that archetype in the TV show, plus what the socialite has to say about the potential for a reboot of The Simple Life.

Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, the stars of 'The Simple Life,' which could get a reboot
Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie in 2004 | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

‘The Simple Life’ aired in 2003 and ended in 2007 

Hilton and Richie’s reality series The Simple Life debuted on Fox in December 2003 and ran for five seasons. The rumored falling out Richie and Hilton had in 2005 caused the network to drop the series, but it got picked up by the E! network, where The Simple Life ran until the series finale in August 2007. 

The Simple Life followed the wealthy socialites as they worked low-paying jobs on farms, in hotels, and at fast-food restaurants. Think Dirty Jobs meets Undercover Boss starring Hilton and Richie. Despite how much of The Simple Life was staged, the reality series catapulted the duo to fame in the early 2000s. 

Paris Hilton was playing up a character in her reality TV series 

As Hilton discusses in the “This Is… The Simple Life” episode of her iHeartRadio podcast, Richie was a second choice for the series. Initially, The Simple Life was pitched as a Hilton sisters show starring Paris and Nikki. But when Nikki didn’t want to do it, Hilton immediately thought of Richie. From there, Hilton knew she had one job to do — play up a character worthy of reality TV.

“What’s Walmart?” she asks in one episode of The Simple Life. “Do they like, sell walls there?”

“I knew exactly what Walmart was,” Hilton admitted on her podcast. “I just knew that it would be a funny line to say.” Admittedly, the public’s opinion of Hilton never bothered her. “It was a character I created,” she said, elaborating: 

“Producers said, ‘Nicole, you be the troublemaker, Paris, you be the blond, rich air-head. Just act like you’ve never done anything in your life and play into that character. So that’s what I did.” 

Paris Hilton

Hilton said playing up that character was a way for her to hide from past trauma, like the abuse she suffered at boarding school. Since The Simple Life, Hilton has done away with the “blond, rich, air-head” persona and gone on to do more serious reality programming like Paris in Love and This Is Paris.

‘The Simple Life’ could get some kind of reboot in 2023 

In a red-carpet interview with Access in December 2022, Hilton spoke about the timelessness of The Simple Life. She also addressed the possibility of doing a reboot. 

 “I’ve been asked to reboot it many, many times,” she told the outlet. “But just with everything going on in my life, I don’t know if I’d have time to leave and do that.” 


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Hilton added: “But, you know we are talking about some other ideas with it.” She mentioned having her mom and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Kathy Hilton as a potential co-star. “That would be hilarious,” Hilton concluded. “My mom is so funny.” 

Should plans surrounding a reboot of The Simple Life develop, we’ll let you know! Until then, old episodes of the original series are available for purchase through Prime Video, Apple TV+, and Google Play.