With "The Simple Life: 3" season finale just two days away, FOX says no decision has been made on whether Richie will return for a fourth season.
And that decision isn't expected to be made for at least several weeks, insiders say.
Hilton has been telling anyone who'll listen that Richie is off the show and is being replaced by Kimberly Stewart (search) (daughter of rocker Rod Stewart).
But there's been no official announcement regarding Stewart, and it appears to be purely speculative at this point — and/or wish- fulfillment on Hilton's part.
Hilton and Richie, once close pals, had a falling out last month, although just what caused the rift remains in question. "It's no big secret that Nicole and I are no longer friends," Hilton said in a statement.
"Nicole knows what she did, and that's all I'm ever going to say about it."
Some say the fight erupted when Richie invited pals over to watch "The Simple Life" — and then screened Hilton's infamous X-rated tape that made the rounds on the Internet.
Star magazine theorized that Hilton's hard-partying ways drove a wedge between the co-stars, while In Touch surmised that Hilton used a racial slur aimed at Richie.
TV Guide reports that, if Richie leaves the show, it could be to star in her own reality show with her fiancee, DJ Adam Goldstein.
"We are currently discussing internally the creative direction of the next 'The Simple Life,' " FOX said in a statement.
"We are huge fans of both Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie and look forward to solidifying our plans for the next installment."
Season three's finale airs Thursday at 9 p.m. EDT.