Paris Hilton has taken aim at critics who have predicted she'll ditch the winner of her new reality TV show once filming is over - because she finds it so hard to make new friends.
The socialite will film MTV reality show Paris Hilton's My New BFF (Best Friend Forever) for six weeks in a Hollywood Hills mansion, putting potential pals to the test in the 10-episode series.
Hilton has been keen to expand her social circle since childhood pal Nicole Richie settled down, after giving birth to daughter Harlow earlier this year (Jan08).
But she insists former partner-in-crime Richie will not be replaced - even though her search is genuine.
She says, "Nicole Richie is my best friend since we were two (sic) so she's my number one best friend, but on the show I think it will be fun to meet some new people. It's going to be a lot of fun. I'll remain friends with them.
"We've had over 200,000 applicants, which is the most for any show. We're down to about 35 right now and I'm going to pick 20 out of those. Boys and girls. They're really nice people.
"They're really funny. I'm the producer of the show, so obviously I want it to be great television, so we have some pretty interesting characters.
"It's all about how they handle different situations. We're going to have different contests and things we do. We're going to be travelling around to (Las) Vegas and Japan. It's going to be awesome."