Surviving The Hills: After 6 Seasons, Who Is Left Standing?

When Lauren Conrad left The Hills in the middle of Season 5, MTV considered pulling the plug.

"We contemplated it," executive producer Liz Gately tells "But we felt we were midway with the Audrina-Justin Bobby story. And there was still a lot of Heidi and Spencer drama -- they had just gotten married -- and the relationships that were in flux between Holly and Spencer and Darlene because of that. We decided to keep going." (Credit Gately and the network, at least, for scuttling plans for a Speidi-centered spinoff.)

To replace Lauren, producers recruited someone they thought could out-controversy Speidi, hiring Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County vixen Kristin to star. The show's slogan for her entrance: The Bitch is Back.

The girl next door was gone, and the mean girl had come to claim her throne. For some, the transition failed. Fewer than 2 million viewers watched The Hills' most recent episode, compared with the average 3 million who watched Lauren's final season.

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