CNN LARRY KING LIVE: Interview with the Hiltons (Transcript)

Aired June 27, 2005

Ricky Hilton, Rick Hilton, we call him, he's mature now, and Kathy Hilton. And Nicky will be joining us by phone. And they've got a wild new show. Don't go away.



KATHY HILTON, HOST, "I WANT TO BE A HILTON": Hi, everyone. I'm Kathy Hilton. I'm so excited and so happy to see you all here. Now, if you have a blue ribbon, you're on the Madison team, and if your ribbon is green, you're on the Park team.

I want you to work hard, watch your back. Because if your team loses, you're going to be meeting with me to find out what went wrong. And I'm going to be writing a list of who will continue with us, and unfortunately, each and every time, one of you won't be on it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Joining us now, the most recognizable names in the world, the Hiltons. They are Kathy and Rick Hilton. Kathy is the host of that new reality show you just saw a clip, "I Want to be a Hilton." She's the mother of the famed Paris and Nicky Hilton, a former actress herself. And Rick Hilton, one of the executive producers of "I Want to be a Hilton," is the father of Paris and Nicky. He's a real estate broker, the grandson of the famed Conrad Hilton, the founder of the Hilton hotel chain.

With us on the phone is Nicky Hilton, the younger daughter of Ricky and Kathy. And she's a handbag and clothing designer. She's in New York. And daughter Paris is in London with her boyfriend, Paris. What do you make of that, Paris-Paris?


KING: What does it feel like, by the way? Is she close to marriage?

K. HILTON: Well, I think so.

KING: Really?

K. HILTON: She's engaged.

R. HILTON: It's official, engagement, but there hasn't been a date set yet.

KING: She has a ring?



KING: Does it compare to your ring? If you want to be a Hilton -- let me see your ring. Wow, folks, can we get a close-up of this ring? This is a Hilton ring.

K. HILTON: Thank you.

KING: How long have you had this?

K. HILTON: About a year.

KING: Oh, a new engagement ring, Rick? What prompted this?

R. HILTON: I actually like the ring that I gave her for our 10th anniversary. She doesn't wear that as often, but...


R. HILTON: ... wear that one more.

KING: Now, give me a little history of this show.

K. HILTON: Basically, last week was our premiere episode.

KING: How did it come about?

K. HILTON: You know, (INAUDIBLE) approached us about a year ago. And I just loved the concept. And I thought, this sounded like something I'd like to do. Why not?

R. HILTON: What was nice about it, Larry, is they approached us, and it was more of a business type of show. And then we sat down with them for about an hour and a half. And we kept thinking of new ways to be creative here. And we have much more than business. Explain a little bit about it.

K. HILTON: Well, last week, the premiere episode was etiquette and fine dining. But we've moved on now. And a lot of the press keeps talking about the etiquette. We've moved on. Next week, Paris and Nicky -- well, tomorrow night, Tuesday night, Paris and Nicky come on the show and take the 14 contestants out to rounding people up to come to a big estate sale, and we're raising money for breast cancer.

KING: And the purpose is there will be a winner, right?

K. HILTON: Yes. There are eight episodes.

KING: And the winner -- the winner gets?

R. HILTON: A $200,000 trust fund. They get an apartment for one year.

K. HILTON: Clothing, jewelry.

R. HILTON: Lots of goodies.

K. HILTON: Prizes.

KING: To be a Hilton, in other words?

K. HILTON: Well, that's the title of the show. That's a way to get your attention. But I think when you get to see and get to know the characters and how hysterically funny they are, it will keep your attention.

KING: Nicky, you're on the phone. What did you make of this idea?

NICKY HILTON, DAUGHTER: I mean, I'll admit, I'm the first one to rag on a reality show. I mean, I just -- I just don't like them. But, you know, my mom and my dad told me about this show, and I just thought it was such a cute idea. It's fun, it's not nasty, and it's just, you know, basically taking this group of people and showing them, you know, New York City, things they've never seen, places they've never been. Restaurants. You know, just the whole culture. And I thought it was -- I think it's very cute. I love the show.

KING: Haven't you generally, Rick, resisted having the Hilton name out there, other than on a hotel? R. HILTON: Well, I don't work for Hilton hotels.

KING: I know, but, generally, haven't you -- you're not the kind of person that we would think would be involved in television.

R. HILTON: Well, it's, you know, I always look for new challenges. And I saw this as a new challenge. My basic business has been real estate, but it was very exciting working on this.

KING: Did you agree with the title, by the way, "I Want to be a Hilton"?


R. HILTON: NBC won't want to hear me say this, but we fought them on that. But you know, it's all about catching the audience and getting them to tune in. Once they'll tune in, they'll love it.

K. HILTON: And it's not me saying it. Once they -- exactly. It's the people saying it that are on the show.

KING: It's the people vying to be -- how did you find the contestants?

K. HILTON: I love -- they are hysterically funny. They are hysterical.

R. HILTON: The people who have seen this show, they love it, and they think we have the best cast they've ever seen on a reality show. What you have to -- I don't know if you've seen it yet, Larry. Tune in tomorrow night.

KING: I will see it. I will.

K. HILTON: Tomorrow night, 9:00.

R. HILTON: 9:00, and this show, you will crack up. It is hilarious.

KING: You are on this week's episode, both of you?

K. HILTON: No. Paris and Nicky are (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Oh, they are doing it...

K. HILTON: And we are raising money for breast cancer. My mother passed away two years ago. So...

KING: Did Paris go for this right away, too?

K. HILTON: Oh, when they knew that it was something, you know, to help, you know, for their grandmother, and that they would have 14 contestants to help and help raise money, they were very, very excited. And they enjoyed meeting all the contestants. It was really -- it's fun. You know, we're not saving lives. We are not -- we are having a great time. KING: What's wrong with that?

K. HILTON: And if we can raise money and have a good time...

KING: Any downside to being a Hilton?

R. HILTON: You live in a fish bowl. And a lot of times, people will say things that are not correct, and that's quite bothersome, but you get used to it.

KING: When you read things in tabloids that are untrue, how do you react? I mean...

K. HILTON: Well, you know, as we all know, the media does not portray people exactly how they are, and sometimes the good things aren't true and sometimes, a lot of the times, the unkind things are not true.

KING: And how do you react?

R. HILTON: Don't read it.

K. HILTON: Don't read it. Don't read it.

KING: And friends don't tell you, did you see...?

K. HILTON: Some people do. Some people do, and then sometimes I get (INAUDIBLE), because in a sense, it becomes addicting, too. It's like, I've got to see it, I've got to see it.

R. HILTON: Larry, I'll give you an example of this. The papers the other day, they said that Tinkerbell attacked somebody on "The Today Show" while she was being interviewed with Katie Couric, and Ronald Reagan, he had a statement he made once, that facts are very stubborn. The facts were that Katie Couric was not even working that day. Tinkerbell was not on the set.

K. HILTON: And was not in a Louis Vuitton cage.

R. HILTON: A newspaper I won't mention writes this up, and people read it, and...

K. HILTON: It was three out of three.

R. HILTON: ... they probably believe it and...

KING: In other words, they missed everything?

R. HILTON: They missed everything.

K. HILTON: Oh, and at the end they said...

R. HILTON: That is just an example last week of what happened.

K. HILTON: ... that I said, ooh, I'm sorry. And I asked Howard Bragman (ph) today said -- wait, my publicist -- I don't remember that. He said, you were doing radio interviews in the dressing room and the dog barked, I mean, because Tinkerbell is famous, of course...

R. HILTON: That part was correct. She was in the dressing room.

KING: Well, they had one thing right.

We'll be right back with more of the Hiltons. The show is, "I Want to be a Hilton." Episode two tomorrow night. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are off to the Hiltons' private estate in Southampton.



K. HILTON: Well, this is the Hilton house. Come on in.

JOHNNY, PLUMBER: I need to be a Hilton. I want to be in that family.


K. HILTON: You want to hold her?

NIKI: I would love to hold her.

Because I look like Paris, I think that that will give me a little bit of an advantage, because of course, she loves her, and so I think that that will help me leave a lasting good impression.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you're going to turn around and wash all of these (INAUDIBLE) grates.

PARIS HILTON: I've never worked like this in my life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I assume you've never milked a cow before.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just -- I'm so tired, it's not even funny.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you to take this and spray those gutters with it.


P. HILTON: I'm never drinking milk ever again. I'm never eating a hamburger again either.


KING: Paris Hilton. We'll ask Nicky, how did you react to all the press Paris got over the sexual incident?

N. HILTON: To be honest, I mean, to me, it's upsetting, but the part that bothered me the most is that I have two little brothers in school, and just the thought of them getting teased, or, you know, made fun of in school just broke my heart, you know.

KING: Did you blame your daughter, Kathy? Did you blame Paris? Were you angry?

K. HILTON: No, because, actually, I was very worried about her. I mean, that was a very unfortunate situation. You know, a boyfriend and a girlfriend, I mean, yes, shocked. People do those things, and people do take pictures and they do take videos -- whatever. It just was -- my husband, you know, my children, Nicky and Paris, because it was very, very upsetting to her.

KING: Were you angry?

R. HILTON: I was. You know, Larry, I always like to look at the positive in things. It could have torn the family apart, but it did the opposite, it brought us closer.


KING: How about the boys? The effect on the boys?

R. HILTON: They were younger then.

K. HILTON: They were younger, and I spoke to a professional about it, and they -- and, you know, obviously you're not going to go into details, and we kept magazines and newspapers. We were living in New York City at the time, so you have to be careful with all the mailboxes. As you walk, you see all the newspapers.

So we were very cautious of that. And I was very honest, and said, you know, there are going to be some things that come out, and it was an unfortunate situation. And if anyone talks about it, just -- just giving them a little -- and then I talked to the schools and everyone was so supportive and all of our friends and all the fans and it was, you know...

R. HILTON: It's behind us now.

KING: How is she doing now, Nicky?

N. HILTON: She's good. She's in London. I'm actually going to go maybe visit her and Paris a couple of weeks in Greece.

KING: Do you know your future brother-in-law?

N.HILTON: Yes, we spent a lot of time together. KING: What's he like?

N.HILTON: He's, I mean, -- when people ask me about that, I just say there's not much not to like. I mean, he's smart, he's polite, he treats her very well. I mean, he takes my little brothers to movies and dinner. I mean, he's just a nice guy.

KING: You want to put him on the show?


K. HILTON: He's too shy. He's not one to be in front of the camera.

KING: He is?

So, he will avoid that?

K. HILTON: I think so.

KING: How soon are they getting married?

K. HILTON: I would think within the next year. We really, you know, they haven't set a date yet. So...

KING: You're the dad, you've got to do the wedding.

R. HILTON: That's right.

KING: It'll be a big one?

R. HILTON: Looking forward to it.

KING: Do you plan on going to the Trump event?

R. HILTON: Well, it'll -- it's hard to trump Mr. Trump. So, we wouldn't want compete with that.

K. HILTON: No. No way.

KING: But I mean, do you plan a big...

R. HILTON: It will be a big affair, sure.

K. HILTON: I think it's really what she wants.

KING: She wants...

R. HILTON: Paris doesn't like doing things small, Larry.

KING: I've heard.

And Nicky, you're a handbag and clothing design is selling in big -- major stores?

N.HILTON: Yes. KING: Were you always interested in that?

N.HILTON: Yes. I mean, I love fashion. I've been designing handbags since I'm 17 and then, about a year ago, I got into the clothing industry and it's just -- I love it. It's so much fun. I went to school for it, I studied it. So, it's cool.

KING: You guys happy with her in that?

R. HILTON: Nicky's got a great flair for design and I mentioned earlier, her nickname is Chickie, so her company is called Chick by Nicky Hilton.

KING: Let's take a call.

San Diego. Hello?

CALLER: Hello. I want to know if spirituality plays a role in the Hilton family and if they've read the "Resistance Manifesto" by John Connor.

K. HILTON: No, I haven't, but I have read some spiritual books. I'd love to read that one. What is it, again?

KING: Are you a spiritual family?

There was -- I didn't -- I'd never heard of it, but...

R. HILTON: Well, we grew up as Catholics, both our families.

K. HILTON: And I go to the, you know, different...

KING: "The Resistance Manifesto."

R. HILTON: I've not read it.

KING: I haven't heard of it either.

We'll take a break and come back with more.

Don't go away.


KING: What did you make of the Carl Jr.'s ads?

R. HILTON: It was hot.

K. HILTON: Provocative.

KING: Angry at them or thought it was a cute idea?

K. HILTON: Well, I don't really watch that much TV.

KING: But you've seen it. K. HILTON: And I did see it and I didn't understand why Paris' agent called and said we'd like you come in and view the commercial. So, I said, "Rick, what do you mean, I've never heard of viewing a commercial. What is this?" And we had just come back from Paris' perfume launch in London and Paris and we were exhausted. So, I'm like: I'm not going to go down and view a commercial. So, all of a sudden, it comes on...

R. HILTON: I think they wanted to get some feedback from us, before it aired but...

KING: Tell me the -- Nicky, how do you see this show. Who's watching this show, "I Want to be a Hilton?"

N.HILTON: Well, I think right now, our culture is so celebrity- obsessed. They love, you know, materialistic stuff and so, I mean, I think there's a little bit of something for everyone.

KING: All age groups?

N.HILTON: My friends watch the show. My little cousin's friends watch the show and then, I even had one of my old school teachers, who's, you know, in her 50s watch the show. So, I mean, it's a pretty large demographic, from what I've seen.

KING: It's a great line, Nicky: Old in her 50s.


Slot McGee (ph) will never be back.

N.HILTON: Older than me, I meant.


KING: Who is this -- what do you see, this show?

K. HILTON: I see this as 14 fish out of water. Hysterically funny contestants...

KING: Seven boys; seven girls.

K. HILTON: Seven young men; seven young women. We are not saving lives. We are having fun. We're going to everything from fashion, business, arts -- that we have the two teams do a night club. Each one has their own night club, so they're learning business.

R. HILTON: We have an episode: How they handle the media.

K. HILTON: So ...

KING: A-ha!

K. HILTON: We teach them how to do the acting thing.

R. HILTON: Yes. So, she's had a little experience at it. K. HILTON: Exactly. We go through everything. It's just life experiences, all through New York.

KING: You don't need the money, Rick. Why do need this?

R. HILTON: I like challenges. Real estate is getting boring, Larry.

I need to move along.

K. HILTON: I mean, think about you. I mean, you are one of the most powerful men in the world and look at Barbara Walters, look at Kirk Kerkorian in business, I mean, and you continue to do it. You don't need to do it, but you love to keep busy and you love what you're doing.

And I love to help people, so I thought: Why not?

KING: And Nicky, you're going to stay with it. If it's continued, will you be on all the future shows?

N.HILTON: I don't know.

K. HILTON: Nicky likes to be behind the scenes.

KING: You like it better behind the scenes, Nick?

N. HILTON: Yes, I'm a little more shy than my mom or my sister. Definitely.

KING: You're sister's not and you're not shy.

K. HILTON: You know, I can be.

KING: Not tonight, you're not.

N.HILTON: No, she's shy.

K. HILTON: I can't -- Nicky, am I shy sometimes?


K. HILTON: I really can be.

R. HILTON: She can be shy.

KING: Tomorrow night: Episode two.

R. HILTON: Thank you, Larry.

K. HILTON: Thank you, Larry.

KING: "I Want to be a Hilton." Our guests have been Kathy Hilton and Rick Hilton and on the phone, Nicky Hilton.