The Real Reason The Simple Life Ended After Season 5

The premise of The Simple Life was, well, simple: two obscenely rich, ultra spoiled girls who have never had to work before are set loose in rural America to try and gain real-world skills by doing low-paying jobs. When The Simple Life debuted in 2003 with Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, it was a hit — audiences were glued to the screens, waiting to see what (often ridiculous things) the two socialites would do next. 

The show spawned a few iconic television moments — for example, when Paris couldn't come up with a quarter to settle a $49,604.25 shopping bill; when the girls said they didn't know how to do 99 percent of everyday household chores; when Nicole asked what a soup kitchen was... you get the idea (via MTV). So why did it come to an end?

Reality killed The Simple Life

The Simple Life was far from being a "reality" show. Paris Hilton tells Access Hollywood (via YouTube), "The producers of the show told us to play these characters... Nicole, you be the troublemaker, Paris, you be the ditsy airhead... we didn't realize this was the first reality show out, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, what a huge success it would be." And while it might have been staged, Nicole Ritchie tells Marie Claire that the show still had a bit of reality to it: "We were filmed 24/7: in the bedroom, in the car, in the living room," she recalled. "That was the most interesting part about The Simple Life, because it was intended to show what we were experiencing in the most truthful way. This changed later on, but at the beginning it was reality at its finest."

However, it wouldn't be a success forever. The show ran for five seasons: four seasons on Fox (via Today), and one season on E! Network, where it was finally canceled after Hilton and Richie's relationship went from friendly to feuding, and after both got entangled in legal troubles.

TV Series Finale quotes E! Networks as telling US Magazine, "We felt like the real life drama of their lives overshadowed anything happening on the show. Viewers would see Paris all day long on the news about her going to jail, so they didn't care about seeing her camping with kids. It just was too played out."