Paris in search of a friend

Hilton heiress bound for Dubai to film a reality television programme, on the search for someone to earn the title of "Dubai best friend".

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Paris Hilton, the American hotel heiress, is to film a reality television show in Dubai. In Best Friends Forever, she will search for someone who must excel at several tasks and sufficiently impress her to earn the title of "Dubai best friend". Twelve contestants from the US, Europe and the Middle East will compete in the show.

Ms Hilton, 28, said she was excited at the prospect of starting filming this month. "Dubai is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world," she said, "and after recently launching my brand there I decided to come back this summer to find a new best friend. "The series format has allowed me to travel to amazing destinations, experience different cultures and meet some really fascinating people that I would never have had the chance to meet.

"It's a fun and exciting adventure that I am thrilled to now bring to Dubai." Hossam Bassel, the show's co-producer, said the Dubai series would be unlike any programme seen in the region and showcase the emirate internationally. All activities in the show would "reflect Dubai culture", he said. The pampered heiress could find herself in the heat of the desert, or face to face with local wildlife, though producers are not saying exactly what viewers might expect.

About 300 men and women have applied to apear on the show. The first series of Best Friends Forever, filmed in the US, premiered on MTV last September. and its success prompted producers to expand it to the UK and now Dubai. Ms Hilton will be instructed to be on her best behaviour in the emirate to ensure the show does not offend local cultural sensitivities. Mr Bassel said she would be told not to allow swearing or sexually explicit conversation, and she would have a wardrobe adviser.

Since The Simple Life, her 2003 TV reality show, Ms Hilton has had several minor roles in series such as The OC, and started her own music label, Heiress Records, in 2004. She has not chosen the women to appear in the Dubai show but it is believed the finalists will be revealed when she arrives in the next two weeks. The series will be a joint venture between Lionsgate Television, Ish Entertainment, Uniqon and Paris Hilton Entertainment.

If the format continues to be a success, Ms Hilton is believed to be keen to take the show to a wider audience and is considering Canada, Australia, Germany and Russia.