‘The Simple Life’: Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie Were Basically on Camera 24/7

While it may be hard for some to imagine, reality TV shows were not always as common as they are today. The Simple Life was one of the earliest ones airing throughout the early and mid-2000s.

It is often considered a reality show that paved the way for others, as fans became hooked on following the lives of their favorite celebrities. The hit reality show kept Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie in the public spotlight and gave us some of the most notable phrases of the decade, such as “That’s Hot”, “Things happen, it’s 2005”, “What is Walmart? Do they, like sell wall stuff?”, or “Sanasa.” Maybe it was because the stars were basically on camera 24/7, or maybe it was the duo’s zany personalities, but The Simple Life is for sure one of the most iconic reality shows of the 21st century that took the country by storm. 

‘The Simple Life’ was a new TV experience

Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton
Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton | Chris Weeks/FilmMagic

The idea for The Simple Life was born after the show’s producers, Brad Johnson and Sharon Klein, began watching the classic sitcom, Green Acres. Since the classic was based on a high-society couple from Manhattan moving to a farm in the deep south, the producers thought it would be a prime opportunity to recreate this premise with a reality show twist. Featuring Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, often thought of as two of the queens of the early 2000s, The Simple Life was a new experience for TV viewers. 

While the show may have been the first of its kind, it created a new TV era. If we had not had the early days of Hilton and Richie’s adventures and drama, Keeping up with the Kardashians may not be as popular as it is today. With the growth of social media and celebrities’ ability to connect with fans via live broadcasts, the landscape of reality TV is completely different from it was almost 20 years ago. However, for those early reality TV fans, The Simple Life stills holds a special place in hearts everywhere, including Paris Hilton’s

Why the stars were basically filmed 24/7

In the early 2000s, reality TV was a fairly new concept. Therefore, the producers of The Simple Life were not sure when they would capture the best footage for their new show. According to The Things, Richie once revealed in a Marie Claire interview, “We were filmed 24/7: in the bedroom, in the car, in the living room. This changed later on, but at the beginning it was reality at its finest.” Therefore, The Simple Life was true reality TV at its best, especially during the first season, as fans got a kick out of watching the two wealthy socialites trying to fit in with average Americans in Altus, Arkansas. While some scenes were staged and character profiles were exaggerated to keep fans engaged, others were authentic as the rich duo got a reality check. 

After the show ended in 2007, Hilton and Richie became replaced with new celebrity dramas. As the two faded from the public eye, it was probably a much-needed break after the 24/7 filming during their time on The Simple Life. 

Fans couldn’t get enough of ‘The Simple Life’

It was obvious that fans craved a new reality show with 13 million viewers tuning into Fox’s debut of The Simple Life. Packed with drama and comedy, the show kept fans entertained throughout its five-season run. The show ended after the fifth season because it was clear Hilton and Richie’s friendship hit a rocky patch and the crew had to schedule filming around the girls’ jail sentences. While the reality show was definitely a hit and pioneered the was for other reality shows, the cancellation in 2007 wasn’t overly surprising as the celebrities’ real lives became more dramatic than the show

RELATED: ‘The Simple Life’ Ended Because It Wasn’t As Dramatic As Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie’s Real Lives