Germany Seeking the Simple Life | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle reporting from Germany | DW | 06.04.2004
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Germany Seeking the Simple Life

The U.S. reality soap "The Simple Life" starring heiress Paris Hilton is a big hit on German TV. But the import isn't enough, and Germany is getting its own version --complete with blonde glamour girl.


Bakery heiress Judith Kamps is Germany's Paris Hilton.

Germany's answer to Paris Hilton might not be as famous as the American hotel heiress who's made a career out of flaunting her extravagant lifestyle, but Judith Kamps, the daughter of millionaire bakery king Heiner Kamps, is prepared to give Hilton a run for her money.

"We're both blonde, spoiled, and like to shop," she says. For her, that's where the similarities end: "Paris is an airhead, whereas I'm studying fashion design at a private college in Düsseldorf."

Well, there is one more similarity. Following in Hilton's footsteps, Kamps is about to trade in her Gucci shoes for a pair of galoshes and get down home on the farm for the German version of "The Simple Life."

German broadcaster RTL is planning its own take on the U.S. series, which became an immediate hit when it started airing here last month on RTL's competitor, ProSieben.

The Simple Life

Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie

German audiences can't seem to get enough of Paris Hilton and gal pal Nicole Richie (daughter of singer Lionel Richie) as they struggle to survive everyday life on an Arkansas farm.

Knock-off success

By the end of this summer, they'll be able to ogle Kamps, along with her sidekick, Indira, ex-singer of pop group Bro'Sis. Ironically, that band was the product of another German reality show, "Popstars," which, like "The Simple Life", was also an imported format that was previously successful in Britain and the U.S.

The German television landscape is teeming with U.S. and British knock-offs, though rarely, if ever, does it work the other way round. Never mind what this says about the ability of German media executives to come up with their own hit formats -- the foreign imports are popular with viewers, and that means big bucks for the broadcasters lucky enough to nab them.

Quiz shows such as "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," talent shows such as "Star Search," and reality shows such as "The Bachelor," and "Big Brother" have all been Germanized. Even MTV's catty dating show "Dismissed" has got in on the act.

Dirty and sweaty?

So bring on "The Simple Life" and Judith Kamps, who, it seems, has been working on her best Paris Hilton impression when thinking about what lies in store for her on the farm.

"The worst thing would be to have to help out with birthing a calf. How disgusting!" she said in an interview with the German tabloid Bild am Sonntag. "I'm scared we're going to be running around dirty and sweaty all the time."

Preparation is everything, and Kamps has the advantage of acquainting herself with the original show before her own two-month trial begins. So unlike Hilton, Kamps already knows she's better off leaving her stilettos at home. She plans on taking rubber boots instead. Designer, with leopard-print, of course.

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