Paris, Nicole Reuniting for Simple Life 4?

07/12/2005 at 04:05 PM EDT

Paris, Nicole Reuniting for Simple Life 4?
Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie
It could be a reunion – if not a reconciliation – for Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. The estranged best friends may team up for a fourth installment of their FOX reality show The Simple Life, whether they like it or not, PEOPLE has learned.

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The network has picked up the option on the pair's existing contracts for a fourth season of The Simple Life, according to sources close to the deal.

Planning is still in the early stages, but among the ideas being discussed internally in production would be to follow both Hilton and Richie as they prepare for their respective upcoming weddings and their subsequent lives as married women. (Hilton, 24, is engaged to Greek shipping heir Paris Latsis, and Richie, 23, to deejay Adam Goldstein, who goes by the name DJ AM.)

Another possibility would be to shoot their reconciliation, should such a thing actually happen. But the main parties involved are nowhere near a final decision and have not discussed a start date.

When asked about plans for the show's next season, Hilton's rep told PEOPLE: "No decisions have been made regarding The Simple Life 4."

As for the frayed friendship of the two Simple-tons, Hilton said in a statement last April: "It's no big secret that Nicole and I are no longer friends. Nicole knows what she did, and that's all I'm ever going to say about it."

A source close to Hilton told PEOPLE at the time that Richie was jealous of the media attention her blonder costar received and resented being left out of things such as Hilton's February hosting gig on "Saturday Night Live."

Meanwhile Richie's friends told PEOPLE that tensions arose because she had grown out of her wild ways, quitting drinking and spending more time with fiancé Goldstein. "She just wants to be with Adam and get married," said one.

Either way, Hilton wasted no time lining up a new sidekick: equally blonde pal Kimberly Stewart, daughter of singer Rod Stewart. And Hilton wasn't shy about hinting that it may be a preview of things to come. "Kim is hysterical and crazy fun, and I love that about her," she said, admitting that she was lobbying to make Stewart her new costar.

Throughout the ordeal, FOX had no comment.

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