PASADENA, CA–Despite being touched by Oprah Winfrey, I’ve been sick as a dog this press tour. Like NBC executives at this TCA deal, I’ve almost completely lost my voice.
This makes working the parties down here very difficult. The networks cram in as much talent as they can limo to their evening events and we all have to run around and talk to them. Usually there is music blaring. It’s noisy and you can barely be heard if you are in fine voice, but with a cold or laryngitis, murder.
My buddy Bill Carter said watching me work the NBC party was like watching a guy with mitts work a meeting of the hearing impaired.
Despite all of this, I managed to get my five minutes with Paris Hilton. The celebutant was working the NBC Universal party to promote her new reality series The World According to Paris. The series, which airs on the Oxygen network, will follow Hilton with cameras day and night, which is pretty much her life anyway.
Hilton was actually a revelation, coming early and staying late, working the entire room and never once sliding out of her six inch heels. There were no bodyguards, just one equally good natured publicist, who was was happy to introduce press to her client. Usually there’s a bad cop, good cop thing with stars and publicists at these things but not with Paris and her handler.
Hilton could tell I was sick as I could barely speak but she didn’t beg off for fear of catching kooties. She answered my questions about Letterman (“He’s a big flirt,” she says) and gushed about how much she loves Toronto, where she has shot a movie or two. She attended TIFF and wants to come back. She turns 30 in a week or two and confessed to being “terrified” at the prospect.
At the end of our chat she said “get better” and urged me to drink some hot tea. She was surprisingly maternal.
Later, on my way out of the crowded party scene, I spotted her still working the press toward the exit. Somebody asked me to take their camera and snap a pic with Paris and I figured I’d sneak in and get my own vanity shot for this blog.
Trouble was, my data card in my camera was missing (too much uploading on the fly down here). Fortunately, a few colleagues came to the rescue with their iPhones.
Hilton could not have been more accommodating, getting right away my idea of posing back-to-back with me covering my mouth so she wouldn’t catch my cold.
The encounter reminded me of the first time I saw Paris, back several years ago when The Simple Life burst on the scene from Fox. She was barely in her twenties then and already a media sensation.
Fox had a party on the roof of the “Blue Whale,” a design centre not far from the trendy Melrose shopping district. Hilton and her gal pal Nicole Richie were the young objects of fascination, roaming carefree and underwear free as determined by the keen eyed press corps. After two weeks in a hotel, it does not take much to turn us all into Niners.
A Canadian colleague who worked for the now defunct National Post (what? It’s still around?) grabbed me at one point and held up a cell phone. It was Hilton’s and she had carelessly left it at the bar.
Said colleague pointed out that the screen saver was a photo of some dude who was them in some Canadian band. Paris’ current boy toy?
“What should we do with this?” buddy asked. Give it back, I said.
You can never have too much good Karma.

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