Scandal for Not-Yet Reality Star
46 minutes ago
By Joal Ryan
Here's a concept: A reality show about reality show scandals.
Certainly, there is no shortage of material, or quasi-famous players. The latest police-blotter entry: Nicole Richie, in hot water for a drug bust.
Which reality show is Nicole Richie on? One that hasn't even finished shooting yet.
Yes, in a twist, Richie, the 21-year-old offspring of pop star Lionel Richie, has managed to make the wrong kind of headlines even before much of the TV nation knows who she is.
It'll be weeks before viewers become acquainted with Lionel's progeny via The Simple Life, an upcoming Fox series that can either be described as a 21st century version of Green Acres, or a Beverly Hillbillies in reverse.
The show, which seeks to chronicle how so-called "society princesses" Richie and socialite Paris Hilton cope with life in Altus, Arkansas (population: 817), is slated for a run on Fox this summer.
By then, perhaps, Richie's legal troubles will have been resolved.
As of now, she's in Arkansas taping The Simple Life, even as she faces a felony heroin possession charge and a misdemeanor count of driving with a suspended license.
News of Richie's run-in with the law went coast-to-coast Friday courtesy the Smoking Gun, which previously outed Joe Millionaire's Sarah Kozer as a bondage and foot-fetish star of some note.
Richie is currently free to get down home with Miss Hilton in Altus, having posted $10,000 bail. Per the Smoking Gun, the "Say You, Say Me" kid is due to be arraigned in Los Angeles on June 6--this, after skipping an arraignment previously scheduled for April 29.
Richie's troubles began February 27 when sheriff's deputies spotted bad registration tags on the 1976 Mercedes-Benz that the young woman was motoring along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, Sgt. Phil Morris of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Friday.
Upon being pulled over, Richie, who was alone in the car, reportedly told deputies she didn't have her driver's license. A subsequent search of her wallet revealed two balloons, Morris said.
A red balloon, tied into a knot, had a slit in it, and contained nothing, Morris said. A white balloon contained heroin, Morris said.
Richie's Los Angeles agent declined comment. A Fox publicist did not return a call seeking comment.
The Simple Life is the latest reality TV entry from the producers of MTV's The Real World and, of late, the box-office bust, The Real Cancun.
Production began last week, with Hilton and Richie transplanted from their coastal lifestyles to the "Wine Capital of Arkansas."
A source told E! Online columnist Ted Casablanca that the duo are keeping busy "pulling calves, milking cows, picking grapes, waiting tables and working at different booths at the town's Spring Gala."
Not included in that list: Endearing themselves to the locals. "[Richie and Hilton] have been very standoffish and snooty," the source told Casablanca.
In the Times Record in Fort Smith, Arkansas, on Monday, 11-year-old Kimberly Salito accused the pair of "making fun" of area residents.
"They were saying...'They're so totally poor,' " Salito said in the newspaper.
But Altus Mayor Veronica Post, also in the Times Record, said Richie and Hilton "seem like nice girls."
Reached at her office Friday, Post said she was not aware of Richie's arrest, "but I don't think that would affect my thoughts. She's a visitor in town, and we're welcoming her like we would all visitors."
The Simple Life will be Richie's first major credit, if you don't count the arrest.
At least she has company--lots of company--in the scandal department. Other reality TV stars who may have let things get too real include: Millionaire's Kozer; The Osbournes' Sharon (restaurant brawl) and Jack Osbourne (rehab); and American Idol's Jaered Andrews (assault charge), Corey Clark (assault and resisting arrest charges), Trenyce (felony theft charge) and Frenchie Davis (modeling for a kiddie-porn site).