This isn't really a drum programming question, it's more aimed at drummers.
I'm flushing out a song idea, and the first thing I do once I have my tempo is to just fill a track with hat hits on the beat to help myself keep time. Then I build kicks/snare tracks around it, and I'm left with a track that has most of the drums following my guitar parts. (Sort of, anyway. I write horrible drum tracks, but that's besides the point)
The problem is, I'm still left with 4/4 hihat hits, and I don't know how to make them interesting. I take one out here and there if I'm doing a fill or a roll, and sometimes toss them into the same hit as the kick if I'm doing a roll-in to something with double bass hits.
It still sounds mind-numbingly droning though. So you drummers, how do you approach hats in general?
I think the key is to not make it sound like CHIKCHICKCHIKCHICKCHICKCHICKCHIKCHICKCHIKCHICKCHIC KCHICKCHIKCHICKCHIKCHICKCHICKCHICK. First the hats have to be mixed at the right level compared to the rest of the set. Then you need to change it up. If it's faster, make the downbeat more accented than the up, or vary how open/closed they are, etc.