Casting begins now; show to air winter 2008

Paris Hilton is looking for a new Nicole Richie, signing on to topline an MTV reality show created by former VH1 execs Michael Hirschorn and Stella Stolper.

Tentatively dubbed “Paris Hilton’s My New BFF” — that’s “best friends forever” among the Clearasil crowd — skein will feature 20 potential hangers-on battling to prove they’ve got what it takes to hang with Hilton. They’ll do so via reality competitions designed to test their loyalty, endurance and ability to navigate the politics involved with being a celeb’s best bud.

Project is the first reality show for Hilton since she and Richie starred together in 20th Century Fox TV’s “The Simple Life,” which began on Fox and ended its life on E! It’s also the first series greenlit under a production pact Hirschorn and Stolper inked with MTV Networks Music Group when they left their VH1 gigs to form Ish Entertainment (Daily Variety, Jan. 18).

MTV has ordered 10 episodes of “My New BFF” and plans to air the show during the fourth quarter of 2008.

Casting is already under way, with some candidates expected to be drawn from ParisBFF.com, an MTV website in which would-be contestants can post videos and blogs that make the case for their inclusion on the series.

Hilton co-created “My New BFF” with Hirschorn and Stolper and will join them as exec producers. Ish head of production Chris Choun, along with Jason Moore, will also serve as exec producers.

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