With the production start date for the next installment of Fox’s reality series “The Simple Life” approaching, the rumor mill is going into overdrive about the future of the reality franchise starring socialites Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie.
The falling-out between the former best friends over the past year has been well documented. Now reports have surfaced that in the new season of the show, targeted to begin production in late spring-early summer, Richie might be replaced.
Sources said that both Hilton and Richie are under deals to appear in at least five seasons of the show, but their options for the upcoming installment have yet to be picked up. According to syndicated entertainment newsmagazine “The Insider,” the show’s producers are considering Kimberly Stewart, daughter of singer Rod Stewart, as a potential replacement for Richie.
“We are currently discussing internally the creative direction of the next season of ’The Simple Life,”’ show producers 20th Century Fox TV and Bunim-Murray Prods. said in a statement Thursday. “We are huge fans of both Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie and look forward to solidifying our plans for the next installment of this fantastic franchise in the very near future.”
A 20th Century Fox TV spokesman declined further comment on the future of the show as well as on the possibility of another potential unscripted reality vehicle for Richie.
This is not the first time “Simple Life” has faced uncertainty. Before production began on the current “Simple Life: Interns” season last fall, Hilton gave a series of interviews in which she declared that she was too busy to do the show. Nevertheless, the hotel heiress ultimately showed up for work.
After a scorching first season in 2003, “Simple Life” has lost some of its luster. Now in its third season, the show still delivers respectable numbers for Fox.