Last night I went to the live season finale taping of The Hills. It was at a ridiculously huge mansion that overlooked all of L.A., there was a red carpet (obviously), a performance by Usher, open bar, hors d'oeuvres - the works. And for once, The Hills was actually in the Hollywood hills. It was a basically a huge screening party that MTV decided to broadcast live (that is if you are on the East Coast). By the time I got home my roommate was watching what she thought was a live show and I had to explain to her that yes, I had been there and no, it wasn't live anymore.
While many of the questions from reporters on the red carpet were questions about the drama on the actual show – did Audrina move out? … Who is Lauren dating? … Are you mad at Heidi still??? – personally, I’m thinking, just watch the show! That's why you're here, remember! What is the point of wasting time asking questions that will probably be answered in the finale in 30 minutes? A “sneek-peak” doesn't make sense! Come on, reporters. As Hunter Thompson would say, “What is the desired effect?”
Anyways, I chatted with all the girls – Lauren Conrad, Stephenie Pratt, Lauren "Lo" Bosworth, Whitney Port, Brody, Frankie, etc. Spencer and Heidi weren’t invited to their own season premiere (Like OMG!) and since I was texting my boss quotes and info from the red carpet (I was literally texting on my phone in one hand and holding my recorder in the other), I am proud (perhaps 'proud' is a bit exaggerated) to say we were the first outlet to have it up that Heidi was not invited. “It’s not weird to me,” Lauren said about Heidi not being there. “I have no control over the guest list.” Uh, huh. Right.
While I’m sure all of this Hills drama is very exciting to you all, there was really only one person I was personally interested in interviewing. It was the creator of this pop-culture phenomenon / monster, Adam DiVello. Whether you are a fan or not of the show, it is remarkable the hit he has created – the premiere was the highest-rated cable telecast of the year with 3.9 million viewers. There are US Weekly, Rolling Stone and Cosmo covers, LA Times articles, they're all over the night-time Hollywood shows – and all for a bunch of girls who were living a normal life in Orange County until MTV swooped in and made them stars. So needless to say, I was more exited to talk about the man behind this generation-defining show (it's a sad but true fact), rather then the stars created because of him.
Here’s my interview with The Hills creator (pictured above with LC) and executive producer Adam DiVello:
You’ve revolutionized reality television by filming it like a major motion picture as opposed to the previous standard in reality TV. How did you know this style would be such a success?
You know I think back in Laguna, back in the day when we started that, it was definitely a group effort. It was an idea of Liz Gateley’s to do a reality show with no confessionals. The format was pretty much, how do we change up reality? We’ve been doing the Real World forever and so that format was already done.
MTV had the first reality show years before reality took over the entertainment industry.
Yeah, so it’s like, how do you change it up and make it feel more like a film? And I think just changing it from being in a high school town with high school kids that were just about to graduate was a great starting off point as far as drama. That’s a really important part of your life. Then to follow it up here to L.A. when Lauren moved up here, it’s your early 20’s, which is the next big stage in your life where everything is monumental and everything’s a problem.
Are we going to see more spin-offs? I know Spencer and Heidi have been approaching networks for their own show.
I’m not quite sure. We’ll definitely see. We’re in the middle of shooting Season 4 right now and we just wrapped Season 3 and now we’re already editing Season 4 so it’s a pretty quick cycle. We’re all keeping our focus on that but we’ll see where everybody is too by the time we’re done.
The one thing that has been omitted from the show is the fact that they are stars of the reality show The Hills. Was that a conscious decision and what made you decide to leave that aspect out of the show?
You know, I think a lot of the theme obviously comes from being on the show. We always elected to stay away from the fame that they get from being on the show so it wouldn’t make sense to follow Lauren for a Cosmo Girl cover because she is doing that, but she’s doing that because of the show that’s about her going to fashion school.
Isn’t it a bit weird to leave it out?
It is weird but I think once we got past it and once the audience accepts it I think it all seems to make sense. She’s still in school and she’s still living where she’s living and these are all still her friends, but yeah on top of that each day she’s becoming a bigger celebrity.
They were working at magazines that they were on the cover of. If they’re out shopping they might stop by a newsstand and wonder if they’re in a magazine. Those interactions might be interesting. Have you ever thought about putting that in the show at all?
Nope. Even Audrina is going to go do the movie (Into the Blue 2) that she’s doing but we decided not to cover it, because it doesn’t make sense.
Is that part of the reason people are attracted to the show; people want to live vicariously through these girls who are somewhat relatable?
I hope that’s the reason. I didn’t want to do a show about people living in L.A. that want to be actors and models.
But they do want to be actors and models.
Well yeah, but you know when we met them they didn’t want to be. I mean Whitney was an intern at Teen Vogue and they were all doing their own thing and Lauren was really going to fashion school. I think for me it wouldn’t be as appealing of a show.
As they become more famous, has it been more difficult to have control on your show?
A little bit more just keeping track where they are at all times because there was a time when we first started out where they just kind of hung out at home and when we weren’t filming them they weren’t doing much of anything, but now they’re all over the place. We shoot about four days a week so as long as they’re all here those four days we’re all good.
When did you know the show was going to be a hit?
I think when the drama actually took off. Obviously there was the feud between Lauren and Heidi and I think that’s kind of when it catapulted because the show was originally about four best friends living together and then two of them became enemies and I think that’s extremely relatable to kids. Like what happens when one of your best friends doesn’t want to talk to you? We couldn’t have planned that from day one.