The Simple Life

Genres: Reality



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The Simple Life throws two young, wealthy urban socialites, Paris Hilton, heiress to the Hilton Hotel fortune, and her friend Nicole Richie, daughter of singer Lionel Richie, into the deep end with "normal" people and gives them the opportunity to experience the values of varied environments.

The idea for The Simple Life was generated in Fox's comedy department.   It was inspired by Green Acres, a sitcom about a New York society couple who moved to a farm.

At the same time the comedy department at Fox was developing the idea, Paris Hilton was meeting with the studio's casting department. They realised they had an idea for a show: Send Paris Hilton, who had never worked a day in her life, and her sister Nicky to live and work on a farm. 

Paris was convinced to come on board, however Nicky, being somewhat shy to the limelight at the time, opted out. Paris told some media that she was in talks to do the show by herself, but ultimately, FOX decided the city-living cast had to be a duo. 

Paris allegedly asked several friends onboard, including Bijou Phillips and Kimberly Stewart, but ended up making an agreement with her then-close friend, Nicole Richie. 

Fox hired established reality producer Bunim/Murray to produce.  Bunim/Murray found the Leding family in Altus, Arkansas, for the girls to move in with.   With everything ready to go, production began May 2nd, 2003.

In the first season, Paris and Nicole agreed to leave behind their cellphones, credit cards and celebrity status to move in with the Leding family in Altus, Arkansas for a month. 

What was supposed to be an assignment in learning how to adapt to doing chores and getting their hands dirty turned out to be an experiment in failure.

In the process they would ruin a dairy farmer's milk supply, wreak havoc at a local Sonic Drive-In and take advantage of an employer's credit card, ultimately getting fired from every job they took up.

This was greatly upsetting to the Leding family. Despite all of this, the two would often get a lesson in reality check 101 from the family themselves. As for whether the girls took it to heart left something to be desired. 

The show started airing on Fox December 2nd, 2003, to surprisingly well received ratings. The premiere episode drew 13 million viewers. The second episode drew 13.3 million viewers, an increase of 200,000 viewers. 

During the airing of the series, Fox added two extra episodes and a reunion special, which continued to draw ratings. With results like this, it was only natural that Fox would order a second season. 


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