How A Sex Tape Led To A Billion-Dollar Brand: The Kardashians Cover The Hollywood Reporter

The Kardashian family – Kris, 61; Kourtney, 38; Kim, 36; Khloe, 33; Rob, 30; Kendall, 21; and Kylie, 20; discussed the Kardashian brand, how it started and where it’s going, as they cover the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

It’ll be 10 years September 24, since “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” started airing.

They discussed how the show came to be, Khloe saying it was all the idea of Kris and Kim. She said:

I don’t think we knew what we were even saying yes to. Everything was just super-fast. Kim and my mom were steering the ship. We were just like, “Tell us where to be and we’ll be there.”

Kris said a casting director had suggested to her the idea of pitching the show to producer Ryan Seacrest after a visit. She said:

One night, Deena Katz [casting director for Dancing With the Stars] came over for dinner and life was swirling around, and she said, “This is a reality show — I think you should really talk to Ryan Seacrest.” So I did.

Seacrest decided to send in a crew with a camera into the Kardashian house to see what could be – and he loved it.

He pitched to E! and although they refused at first, he called Ted Harbert, then-CEO of E! Network. and told him “This is a special show, and I want you to know we brought it to you [first].” Harbert said:

Ryan asked me to take a look at this tape of them at the dinner table. There was conflict, sniping and resolution. I call it, “Fight, fight, fight. Love, love love.” I came in the next day and said I wanted to do it.

The Kardashian sisters discussed being surprised the show was such a hit, and people recognizing them. Khloe said:

In Armenia, I’ve never seen so many people. I got separated from Kim and everyone, and they all got in the van and left. I was like, “Hello? I’m still in the fucking crowd of people!” Everyone forgot about me and Erin Paxton, our audio mixer, took her boom and literally fished me back into our producer’s van.

The show has had 9 spinoffs so far, from “Kourtney & Kim Take Miami” to “Khloe and Lamar” to “Life of Kylie.” They discussed how this started. Seacrest said:

We had a successful mother ship and we thought, “Let’s try a spinoff.” They were opening a Dash store in Miami, so that gave us a premise [Kourtney & Kim Take Miami]. I got a call from Jeff Shell, who was under Steve Burke at Comcast, which owned E! before the NBC merger. He said, “Should we be investing in spinoffs?” I told him, “I’ll take the risk.”

On the reason Kylie decided to start her own show, she said:

 I feel like I’ve been hiding myself and my personal life for a really long time, so I thought it was time to do this show and hopefully be a little more understood.

Khloe confessed she never wanted to do Khloe and Lamar, and it was all Lamar’s idea. She said:

I never wanted to do Khloe & Lamar; my ex-husband did. He sold it to E!, and I let it happen because I wanted him to be happy. I was the one who canceled it. It was way too much. [Odom was hospitalized in 2015 after being found unconscious at a Nevada brothel. The couple divorced in 2016.]

Kim also talked about her marriage to NBA player Kris Humphries, saying her mother and even producers of the show thought she shouldn’t be getting married to him. She said:

There was all this attention on the wedding, and I thought maybe it was just the pressure of the show giving me this anxiety. My friends told me I just had cold feet, but even the producers said, “You don’t seem happy. You don’t have to go through with this.”

The night before, my mom pulled me aside, off camera, and was like, “This isn’t it for you. Why don’t you go away and I’ll handle it?” I felt like, if I pulled out now, everyone’s going to think I just did it for the show. Then afterwards, people were saying, “You have to stay married for a year,” but I physically couldn’t do it.

When I made the decision, everyone said it was made up for the show. Everyone really wanted to take me down.

Think about this realistically: If it was for the show don’t you think we would have found someone that signed off? Someone OK with getting married and getting divorced two months later? If it’s for a show don’t you think you’d want as little legal trouble as possible?

This was real emotions, real feelings. People fuck up.

On Bruce Jenner‘s transition to Caitlyn, the Kardashian family talked about all the feelings that event brought. Kim said:

The most difficult thing [to film] was probably Caitlyn’s transition and just seeing my mom and Khloe having such a hard time. We never really edited content before, but we did edit a bit of Khloe’s reaction just because she was so upset.

Kylie said while it was happening she wasn’t thinking about pop culture. She was thinking: “This is my father.”

The Pepsi advert that was criticized for trivializing Black Lives Matter was also discussed, as Kendall was in the middle of it all. Kim said:

We’re not perfect, but you see these things in the media, like Kendall and, where I see her at home crying, but in the media she looks another way because she’s not addressing it.

I’m just like, “This is wrong. You need to speak up.” She was like, “I don’t ever want to show that footage of me crying.” She was trying to not make excuses or be dramatic, but that was what she was going through at the time.

Kris rounded it up, saying she joked about the show reaching its 32nd season at the beginning. Guess she is a seer. She said:

When we first started, I jokingly said, “We’ll be on season 32, Kylie gets married.” I was kidding, and here we are, and it’s season 14, so be careful what you wish for.

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