Why The Hills Added The O.C.'s Mischa Barton For MTV Revival

the hills new beginnings promo mischa barton mtv

The Hills is making its long-awaited return to the small screen with the MTV revival, called The Hills: New Beginnings. The revival managed to recruit some key members of the original cast, although there are some notable exceptions. Still, the revival made a couple additions to the cast, and one has a lot of experience on shows set in Orange Country. The O.C. actress Mischa Barton joined The Hills for New Beginnings.

Her addition came as a bit of a surprise to many fans, as The Hills was always a reality show, and Mischa Barton played a fictional native of Orange County as Melissa Cooper on The O.C. How would she fit in with the likes of Brody Jenner, Spencer Pratt, Heidi Montag, and more?

With The Hills: New Beginnings airing its big premiere on June 24, MTV development head Lily Neumeyer explained why Mischa Barton was added to the cast:

Brody and Mischa used to hang out in the same Hollywood circles because they were around the same age, so we thought she would be good because of that, and she also has an amazing story. She’s very open to tell her story. When we first talked to her, she was very honest about all the stuff that has been in the press about her, but that she never gets to talk about that, which is very difficult for a young woman. I think she was excited about being able to tell her own story.

Mischa Barton already had a connection to The Hills cast thanks to her friendship with Brody Jenner, so it's not like the show just grabbed some random actress who once happened to film a show set in Orange County! Barton and Jenner knew each other years ago, and perhaps that history will have an interesting part to play in the revival.

As Lily Neumeyer noted in the interview with Variety, Mischa Barton also has "an amazing story" and The Hills will give her a fresh platform to tell that story. Barton started her career as a child actor, and The O.C. fans who watched live back in the day will likely remember that the press was not always especially kind to her.

The O.C.: The Cast Then And Now

While Mischa Barton has been open about her treatment in the past -- such as when she went off on Dancing with the Stars after her stint on that show -- The Hills could allow her to speak her mind at her own discretion. Given that Lauren Conrad and Kristin Cavallari not-too-surprisingly declined to return for the Hills revival, Barton is a big name with a story she wants to tell. It sounds like fans have big reasons to be excited.

Still, there's no denying that the idea of Mischa Barton of The O.C. appearing in a reality show set in the O.C. has its appeal. Lily Neumeyer shared whether or not Barton's O.C. past gave her an edge in the process of putting the revival together:

It’s a great marketing hook, but that’s not why she’s on the show. When we thought about her, we weren’t sure if she would really talk about things, to be honest, but when we met her, she was so honest.

Is Mischa Barton of The O.C. on The Hills in the O.C. a marketing hook? Yes. Is that the only reason why she is now part of the Hills family? Nope! The Hills seems to have chosen Barton for the right kind of reasons that will make her a substantive and intriguing part of the show rather than just somebody who turns up in the promotional material as a hook.

Tune in to MTV on Mondays at 10 p.m. ET to catch Mischa Barton and the rest of The Hills: New Beginnings' cast in action in new episodes. If you need some viewing options for the other nights of the week, swing by our 2019 summer TV premiere guide.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).