reality tv

Stirring the Pot,
Shaping The Future

A Reality TV Textbook

The Note. The table flip. The pasta. What started as a guilty pleasure has morphed into a cultural phenomenon that deserves to be studied, which is why we created Betches’ Reality TV Textbook: a historical exploration of reality television’s lasting impact on society and required reading if you’re still confused if canned tuna is chicken or fish.

Letter From Our Founding Mother, Paris Hilton

Dearest #Sliving sisters,

My history with reality TV begins with The Simple Life, which premiered on December 2, 2003 – Britney Spears’ birthday, a great omen. Before the show came to be, Fox contacted me and said, “We want to do a show that’s like Green Acres meets Clueless, and we want you to play this blonde airhead, and Nicole can be the troublemaker, and you guys are gonna go all around America and live the simple life.” I’ll never forget flying to Arkansas on the jet with Nicole and having no idea where we were going or the adventure we were about to embark on. 

One of my favorite moments on the show is when I asked, “What’s Walmart? Do they sell walls there?”  — and I was totally in on the joke. It was all about playing with my image, giving everyone a taste of that playful Paris charm. What makes this moment truly standout, though, isn’t just the humor, but how it underscores my journey. The things people said to me and about me could be hurtful, which was difficult to deal with as a young adult. But at the same time, I built a huge brand off of the character I created, and I had so much fun doing it.

The Simple Life wasn’t just a show; it became a cultural touchstone, inspiring an entire generation of reality TV programming. Following The Simple Life, television saw a surge in reality programming that sought to replicate its success by experimenting with format, setting, and characters. More shows began to play with the idea of placing people in situations outside their comfort zones to hilarious (and sometimes heartwarming) effect — although it definitely can be a heightened portrayal of “reality.”

Cut to the present, and it’s almost poetic how things have unfolded. For years, people thought the “character” I was playing on The Simple Life was who I really was, so a lot of people judged me, thinking I really was a dumb blonde or the girl who “didn’t know” Walmart. Now, I’m behind one of its best-selling cookware lines. Shows like Paris In Love have given me the opportunity to show people the real me: an entrepreneur and CEO of my company 11:11 Media, a wife, a mom, a DJ, and an advocate for change. It’s this kind of full-circle story that adds depth to the persona, showing there’s strategy behind the sparkle. This transition from playful ignorance to successful entrepreneur isn’t just growth; it’s a reflection of embracing every opportunity, no matter how unexpected, and turning it into gold.

Stepping into the world of reality TV laid the foundation for a whole new genre of celebrities. Simple Life paved the way for myself and others to become bona fide celebrities, influencers, and trendsetters, demonstrating the power of reality TV to launch careers and shape public discourse. From influencers and social media stars to everyday people with extraordinary talents or lifestyles, I am constantly inspired seeing everyone utilize the power of reality TV to build empires and influence millions. The show and social media was the blueprint for personal branding, storytelling, and connecting with audiences on a genuine level. It proved that with the right mix of perseverance and personality, anyone could become a household name.

I’m so proud of the woman I’ve become, and wish to leave a legacy of empowerment, showing that you can be iconic and #sliv, you can be a loving mom, you can run a business (or several!) and you don’t need to fit into any preconceived notions or societal expectations as long as you’re being yourself and using your voice for good. No regrets.

I would love to thank Nicole for coming with me on this adventure, the amazing production crew at Bunim Murray, Mike Darnell, Jeff Jenkins, Farnaz Farjam, and a huge thank you to all my fans. I love you all so much, and I’m always so grateful for all the love and support. 

With love, Von Dutch hats, oversized Dior sunglasses, and a wall from Walmart, 

Paris Hilton

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Founding Mother of Reality TV, CEO, mother, pop star, and all things #Hot

The Chapters

The Founding Mothers Of Reality TV
Honoring the women who started it all.
From Creation To Transformation: The Evolution of Reality TV Formats
Why was every 2000s show a 13-year-old brat behaving badly?
The Lineages And Legacies of Reality TV’s Royal Families
Audriana Giudice, Baby Princess and 14-Year-Old SHEIN Ambassador.
A Comprehensive Study of Reality TV Hosts
Yes, we even included Nick and Vanessa.
The Anatomy of A Reality TV Villain
“Throws chair at a 9-year-old and calls her mom a lying whore.”
The History Of Jersey Shore's 'The Note,' As Told By Those Who Lived It
“It is a timeless piece of American literature,” -Mike
Portraits Of Reality TV’s Patron Saints
Prayers for Bethenny Frankel, Our Lady of Insufferability.
The Rituals Of Reality TV Reunions: An In-Depth Examination
Never forget Tamra Judge calling Alexis Bellino “Jesus Jugs.”
Heavenly Hotties: Fashion In The Reality TV Imagination
Micro denim jackets, layered crystal necklaces, and so many fucking scarves.
Lost Chronicles: Unearthing The Overlooked Moments In Reality TV History
Preserving Reality TV’s Most Iconic Artifacts
Put Aviva Drescher’s prosthetic leg in the Louvre.
From Scrolls To Screens: A Reality TV Historical Glossary
POSCHE (insult): Piece of Shit, Cokewhore, Homewrecker, Everyday.

VP of Editorial: Katie Corvino

Director of Entertainment, Social: Dylan Hafer

Entertainment Editor: Steph Perlman

Senior Art Director: Brittany Levine 

Senior Graphic Designer: Nicole Maggio