Kathy Hilton’s daughter Paris, who knows a little about being on camera, offered her mother some helpful hints about starring in a reality TV show.
“She told me, ‘Never look at the camera, always be camera-ready, and never trust the producers,’ ” says Hilton, host of “I Want to Be a Hilton,” premiering tonight at 9 on NBC (KHQ-6 in Spokane).
“And I’m lucky on that last tip, since my husband, Rick, is one of the producers.”
The program features 14 eager but less-than-elegant contestants who converge on New York City in cutoffs and capris, vying for a chance to live the way the Hiltons do for one year. The winner gets a $200,000 trust fund, a new wardrobe, jewelry and an apartment.
“This is ‘My Fair Lady’ meets ‘The Apprentice,’ ” Hilton says.
The wannabes are exposed to such niceties as visiting a museum, choosing a fine wine and learning to eat lobster (“tastes like bubble gum,” one commented).
That’s pop culture, too; Paris and sister Nicky take them out for a night of dancing.
Each week the candidates compete in a task of Hilton’s choosing, from organizing a charity auction to picking an appropriate hostess gift. One loser goes home in a limo.
Contestants include a waiter, a ranch hand, a receptionist, a Las Vegas dancer, a motor vehicles clerk, a plumber, a perfume salesman, and a former beauty queen who bursts into song at random moments.
Hilton says each of them gained something from the show – from grooming to business sense to self-confidence.
“I wanted to get through to them that you don’t have to grow up on Park Avenue, your last name doesn’t have to be Hilton, to walk into a room and be incredible,” she says.
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