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Paris Hilton beats President Bush in ratings

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NEW YORK (Reuters) -- He may have beaten Saddam Hussein, but President George W. Bush was outdone by slinky socialite Paris Hilton when her television show got higher ratings than Bush's exclusive ABC interview Tuesday night.

Diane Sawyer

More Americans watched Fox's "The Simple Life," which depicts the 22-year-old hotel heiress working on an Arkansas farm, than saw Bush being interviewed by Diane Sawyer, Nielsen Media Research said on Thursday.

"The Simple Life" may have been helped by the public saga of a video, making the rounds of the Internet, showing the granddaughter of hotel chain founder Conrad Hilton engaged in various sex acts with ex-boyfriend Rick Salomon.

"The Simple Life" drew 11.8 million viewers while Bush's ABC "Prime Time" interview drew 11 million, Nielsen said.

In the interview, the president made headlines by saying the recently captured ex-Iraqi leader should be executed -- the "ultimate penalty" -- for his iron-fisted rule in Iraq.

But Hilton won more viewers with her performance baking pies and working the town fair's kissing booth in a mini skirt.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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