There are some goofy things to fill our Thursdays now, from nakedness to Nicole Richie to LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian. Here's the story I sent to papers:
By MIKE HUGHES
LOS ANGELES -- For Nicole Richie, “The Simple Life” was
supposed to be a simple breeze.
She was 21 and a college drop-out, a rich kid (the adoptive
daughter of musician Lionel Richie) who grew up in Hollywood comfort. The idea
was to drop her and her then-friend Paris Hilton in a tiny town.
“TV was not my world,” Richie recalled. “And I had Fox
saying to me, ‘Do you want to take this adventure, and it will take up 30 days
of your life?’”
It took up much more. “The show really kind of took a life
of its on,” she said, “and I went along with the ride.” It lasted five years …
or much longer. For good or bad, it transformed Richie and TV.
Today, the genre abounds. “It’s everywhere,” Eddie Cibrian
said. “Everybody has unscripted television.”
That includes the new Thursday line-up on VH1. Debuting July
9 p.m.: “Dating Naked,” which is just what the
title implies. “Once everyone has stripped away their clothes and preconceived
notions about each other, … there is nothing left but their ultimate, honest
selves,” insisted Susan Levinson, the VHI programming president.
10: “Candidly Nicole,” following Richie’s life.
10:30: “LeAnn & Eddie,” with Cibrian, an
actor, and his wife LeAnn Rimes, a country star.
Those last two follow the “Simple Life” mold. There had been
other reality shows (starting with “The Real World”), but mostly competitions. “The
Osbournes,” in 2002, and “The Simple Life,” in 2003, just amiably follow
unusual people in unusual situations.
“Candidly” follows Richie, 32, and her friends. Her husband
(musician Joel Madden) and two children aren’t shown. “My dad’s on the show
because he’s desperate and a celebrity and cannot stay away from the camera,”
she said. “My sister is on the show because she’s just 15 and cute.”
That’s the light approach that made Richie a Twitter and
blog star. Now she’s back in reality-TV.
Rimes is new to that world. “We are really kidding ourselves
with the illusion of a private life,” she said.
After all, Cibrian’s ex-wife Brandi Glanville has a reality
show (“The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”) and comments on him. Now he has
one, too. “They are very different shows,” he said.
The “LeAnn and Eddie: opener does spend a lot of time grumbling
about tabloid coverage of their marriage. Still, Cibrian says, “ultimately,
this is a comedy.”
He grew up in California, the son of a Cuban-American
banker; Rimes grew up in Mississippi and Texas. “Her dad is as Southern as
Southern gets,” he said. “You’ve never seen someone manhandle a horse or a
steer …. He’s so cool.”
And he takes his daughter’s life in stride, Rimes said. “My
dad always knew that I’d end up with a pretty boy from California.”
She did. And that sort of culture class has fueled reality
shows, ever since “The Simple Life.”