Hills Battles Its Own Hype

Ratings are down, tabloid readership is up
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2008 9:46 AM CST
Audrina Patridge, left, recently heard rumors that on-again off-again love Justin Brescia hooked up with Lauren Conrad, right, behind her back. The drama was reported nearly two months before airing.   (AP Photo/Stephen Chernin)
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(Newser) – Thanks to the Internet, the 24-hour news cycle, and rampant celebrity gossip in the blogosphere, the reality show The Hills has taken a backseat—to itself. “Do fans even need to watch the show anymore to get a Hills fix?” Denise Martin writes in the LA Times. For example, tonight's episode "breaks" the news of a scandalous hook-up first reported on Oct. 3.

The show’s executive producer says the Internet noise is no substitute for the real thing: “If viewers want to see the action unfold for themselves, they can't get it anywhere else but on MTV.” However, ratings are down, and resident drama queen Lauren Conrad has fueled rumors of her departure from the show. “Five years on TV is a really, really long time,” she said.