Paris Hilton: Reality TV Has-Been or Comeback Queen?

Paris Hilton reels after premiere of new reality TV show draws dismal ratings.

June 7, 2011 — -- Once the darling of the reality TV realm, it seems Paris Hilton is now passé.

As the sub-par ratings for the socialite/celebutante/heiress' new show, "The World According to Paris," came out last week, she reeled from an interview on ABC's "The View" in which Barbara Walters asked why Hilton focuses on being frivolous.

"You have served time in prison," Walters said to Hilton during her "View" appearance. Hilton memorably called Walters from jail in 2007, where she was serving a DUI sentence, and vowed to clean up her act, "make a difference," and stop being "that superficial girl."

"It was very painful," Walters went on. "You were going to spend a lot of time helping fellow prisoners, especially women. Why haven't you done more of that and less of this?" ("This" meaning playing with her pet chihuahua, juggling her current and ex-boyfriends, and complaining about doing community service to atone for her latest run-in with the law, all part of the first "World According to Paris.")

Hilton's response: "I'll make silly little jokes. It doesn't mean I'm serious."

No one was joking after the interview. The New York Post reported that backstage, Hilton and her father, Rick Hilton, screamed at a "View" producer, enraged at the tone of the interview. A spokesperson for the show confirmed the incident to Hilton's representative didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Hilton may have good reason to be upset. "The World According to Paris," premiered to a paltry 400,000 viewers on the Oxygen cable network last Wednesday. By comparison, her first reality show, "The Simple Life," drew 13 million viewers when it premiered on Fox in 2003.

Oxygen shows with lesser-known stars have premiered to wider audiences than Hilton's. The March debut of pop singer Aubrey O'Day's show scored 724,000 viewers; 1.7 million people tuned in for the premiere of the latest season of "The Bad Girls Club."

In a world ruled by the Kardashians and a seemingly innumerable amount of "Real Housewives," it's hard to imagine Hilton, 30, reigning supreme again. But a source close to Oxygen told that the network remains "super committed" to the show and Hilton, despite the initial ratings.

"Subsequent episodes have exciting storylines," the source said, citing Wednesday's upcoming installment that features Brooke Mueller, Hilton's pal and Charlie Sheen's latest ex-wife, dealing with her substance abuse issues.

Hilton, for her part, seems unconcerned. Her Twitter page boasts a bright pink "World According to Paris" theme and bubbly messages to match, including a tweet she posted Monday after returning from a trip to Spain to support her motorcycle racing team: "Just landed back in LA. Can't wait to get home to all my pets! Missed my babies so much!"