"I wish I got to see what you saw today," Spencer says. He's referring to this afternoon's cover photo shoot attended by Heidi and her three Hills castmates: Audrina Patridge, 22, Whitney Port, 23, and the show's protagonist, Lauren Conrad, 22, with whom Heidi has been engaged in an ugly feud. Once best friends and roommates, the two women have spent the past year and a half bickering back and forth in celebrity weeklies — a rift that, depending on whom you talk to, stems from either a Lauren sex-tape story that Spencer and Heidi leaked to the press (Lauren's version; they deny it), or Lauren's jealousy of Spencer and Heidi (their version; Lauren denies it), or Spencer's overall control-freakiness, or a cabal of genius MTV executives secretly pulling ratings/goosing strings behind a curtain. Whatever the case, the shoot was the first time Heidi and Lauren had been photographed, and not Photoshopped (as MTV has been forced to do), together in more than a year. Heidi says that on her way to the shoot she thought it might be a scam. "I thought I was walking into Punk'd or getting killed or something," she says. "Heidi really wanted me there for backup," Spencer says. "She was like, 'This is a setup.'" But the shoot happened ... as MTV publicists and show creator Adam DiVello nervously looked on, the atmosphere was cordial but chilly. Hills Kremlinologists studied cast interactions, but over the course of a nine-hour day, Lauren and Heidi never spoke to each other. "You can feel it," Whitney, The Hills' doe-eyed Switzerland ("I'm neutral"), told me at a quiet moment. "There's a separation." Heidi is sanguine about the split. Lauren, after all, is why she's on The Hills — Heidi was just a spitfire from the small ski town of Crested Butte, Colorado ("A seven-block town with one main street," says Heidi's mom, Darlene Egelhoff), when she met Lauren at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. "We were the only blondes in the class," Heidi recalls. "We were such. Good. Friends," she says emphatically. "A part of me just wants to go up and be like, 'Hey, how are you?' But the other part of me is so mad ... It's like I'm the odd man out." However awkward the Heidi-Lauren squabbling may be, it has been juicy business for The Hills. This spring's season premiere earned the show a record 3.9 million viewers — the highest-rated cable telecast of the year so far — with an estimated 5 million more views online. Graden believes The Hills is now a bigger franchise than other generation-definers like The Osbournes, TRL or Jackass. "People love feuds," says Spencer, taking a chomp of quesadilla. "Who were Paris and Nicole before they weren't friends? That's when they became superstars. If Lauren and Heidi were friends, people wouldn't tune in." Every rivalry needs its black hat, however, and Heidi, through Spencer, has eagerly, and perhaps too ingeniously, complied ... "It's jealousy, man," Spencer says. "It's human. I'm jealous of Jay-Z, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch. I feel for these people who wish they could be on reality television and not in their cubicles. You got to thank your haters." "You have to understand, we have so many fans," Heidi says. "The haters are the ones who ask us for photos. The haters are the ones who are downloading songs." She looks out at the restaurant, which is packed. Don Antonio's has always been a popular joint, but since she and Spencer started eating here on The Hills, it's getting crazy, she says. "The world works on haters now."
All joking aside (about the apocalypse, etc.), I am not at all surprised that both ladies agreed to come together for this photoshoot for Rolling Stone magazine. They are both very smart, very savvy ladies (political preferences notwithstanding) and they deffo know how their bread is buttered -- making the cover of Rolling Stone magazine is a huge accomplishment. Whether they really hate each other isn't even the point ... the fact that we believe that they hate each other and still agreed to be shot together is entirely the point -- it fuels our desire to want more, more, more ... and it's absolutely brills. Regarding the "haters" that Speidi are referring to ... they are absolutely right in their assertion that the haters are what fuel the demand for the show. If Speidi weren't positioned as the foil to good-girl LC then there would be nothing to keep the audience ravenously coming back to the show for more year, after year, after year ... the interest would've waned mid-way thru second season -- in fact, interest was waning and it wasn't until Spencer stepped in to help Heidi forge her own identity on the show that popularity soared. Whether or not it was all part of the master-plan (I suspect Spencer would say that it deffo was part if his master-plan), the vilification of the "venomous Speidi" is what changed the tone of the show and made it the huge success that it is. People love a fight ... whether it's real or not, we love to watch people go at it. That being said, I'm not sure that the separation formula between Team LC and Team Heidi will work for very much longer on The Hills. To me, it feels like it's just about run its course (the new scenes this season of Heidi and LC showing up in the same close quarters [by way of Audrina's intervention] is proof to me that MTV is trying to stir the pot a little to keep the audience interested ... but I fear that stuff won't work for very much longer). I fully expect Speidi to get their own show, maybe one based around their long-awaited wedding (that wedding will deffo happen one day and it will be televised ... I'm utterly and completely convinced) and The Hills phenomenon will come to an end -- perhaps that will be the real first signal of the end of the world. After all, what how will our existence carry on without our favorite guilty pleasure? [Source, Source]