More than 12 years after it first debuted, The Hills will return to MTV. To no one’s surprise, MTV announced during last night’s VMAs that it was bringing back the soapy reality show, which will now be called The Hills: New Beginnings.
That’s probably because Lauren “LC” Conrad and Kristin Cavillari, who anchored the original show, are not returning. Instead, The Hills: New Beginnings, which will air sometime in 2019, will have “new faces” and “old favorites,” and is based on the original instead of just being the original.
MTV describe the new version of the show like this:
“Based off the docuseries that changed the landscape of TV history, The Hills: New Beginnings will reunite original cast members, alongside their children and friends, and follow their personal and professional lives while living in Los Angeles. With new faces in the picture and returning favorites, The Hills is back for a new beginning.”
Who are those “new faces”? Us Weekly reports that “a celebrity has been added to the cast, as well as two bloggers.”
Returning are Heidi Montag, Spencer Pratt, Audrina Patridge, Jason Whaler, and Whitney Port. They were joined on the VMAs red carpet by Justin Bobby Brescia, Frankie Delgado, and Stephanie Pratt.
Here they are being photographed and arranged on the VMAs red carpet, in a video from MTV (there is no audio of the cast):
Not returning, besides Lauren and Kristin (who now has her own E! show), is Lo Bosworth, who said on her podcast six months ago, “I was like, ‘Fuck, no! I don’t want any association with those people.'”
The Hills without Lauren and Kristin has the potential to make it feel more like a sad reunion of people who didn’t have anything better to do.
Will The Hills: New Beginnings be as phony as the original?
MTV’s announcement says the show will be produced by Evolution Media, the production company that is behind Bravo’s Vanderpump Rules, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and The Real Housewives of Orange County.
It does not mention how true to reality The Hills: New Beginnings will actually be.
The Hills was so famously fake—it was using reenactments and scripting both scenarios and lines—that its finale ended by breaking the fourth wall, showing the crew, and revealing that the final scene was shot on a studio backlot with a backdrop instead of real scenery.
Judging by the teaser preview, the show will be 99 percent stylish shots of Los Angeles set to an acoustic version of its theme song, “Unwritten,” and that sounds more appealing to me than watching Heidi and Spencer being parents, something I’d rather forget about instead of focus on.
Stephanie Pratt narrates it—though her narration consists of two flat sentences: “It’s like we’re all growing up. It’s weird.”
Earlier this year, MTV found ratings success with Jersey Shore’s reboot of Jersey Shore, and that came at a time when the fading network was desperately in need of a hit.
It makes sense, then, that MTV is rebooting another personality-driven, nostalgia-soaked reality shows to bring back. Most of the Jersey Shore cast now have kids and relationships, but that didn’t stop them from being ridiculous and drunk as usual for their “Family Vacation.”
The Hills had a very different kind of appeal, from its slick production values to its soap opera narratives, so it’ll be interesting to see if this works not just with viewers who were in MTV’s target demographic when the show was still airing, but also with MTV’s currently target audience of 18- to 34-year-olds.