Keeping Up with the Kardashians

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Keeping Up with the Kardashians
KUWtK titlecard.png
Genre Reality television
Starring
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 10
No. of episodes 143 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Camera setup Multiple
Running time
  • 22 minutes (seasons 1–6)
  • 42 minutes (season 7–present)
Production company(s)
Release
Original channel E!
Picture format
Original release October 14, 2007 (2007-10-14) – present
Chronology
Related shows
External links
Website

Keeping Up with the Kardashians (often abbreviated to KUWTK) is an American reality television series that has aired on E! since October 14, 2007. The show is currently in its tenth season and focuses on the personal and professional lives of the Kardashian-Jenner family. Its premise originated with Ryan Seacrest, who also serves as an executive producer.

The series mainly focuses on sisters Kim, Kourtney, and Khloé Kardashian. It additionally places emphasis on their parents Kris and Caitlyn Jenner (then known as Bruce), their half-sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner, and brother Rob Kardashian, as well as Kourtney's ex-boyfriend Scott Disick. The significant others of the Kardashian sisters have also been featured on the show, including Khloé's ex-husband Lamar Odom. In season eight, Caitlyn's son Brody, who has made cameo appearances in the early seasons, joined the show to appear regularly, along with his brother Brandon, and Brandon's wife, Leah. Kim's best friend Jonathan Cheban and Khloé's best friend Malika Haqq have also been a part of the show.

Keeping Up with the Kardashians has received poor reviews from critics since its premiere. It has often been criticized for emphasizing the "famous for being famous" concept and for appearing to fabricate aspects of its storylines. However, the show has brought in very high ratings for the network and its success has lead to the creation of numerous spin-offs, including Kourtney and Kim Take Miami, Kourtney and Kim Take New York, Khloé & Lamar, and Kourtney and Khloé Take The Hamptons, as well as the forthcoming Dash Dolls. It has additionally distributed all seasons to DVD.

Background[edit]

Robert Kardashian (1944–2003) and Kristen Mary "Kris" Houghton (born 1955) married in 1978 and had four children together, daughters Kourtney (born 1979), Kim (born 1980), and Khloé, (born 1984), and son Rob (born 1987). The couple divorced in 1991.[1] In 1994, Robert entered the media spotlight when he defended O. J. Simpson for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman during a lengthy trial. Kris married former Olympic champion Caitlyn Jenner (born 1949, then known as Bruce) in 1991.[1] Caitlyn and Kris had two daughters together, Kendall (born 1995) and Kylie (born 1997). Robert died in 2003 eight weeks after being diagnosed with esophageal cancer.[2] In 2004, Kim became a personal stylist to recording artist Brandy Norwood; she eventually developed into a full-time stylist, and was a personal shopper and stylist to actress Lindsay Lohan.[3]

Khloé, Kim and Kourtney further ventured into fashion, opening a high fashion boutique D-A-S-H in Calabasas, California. Throughout Kim's early career, she involved herself in some high-profile relationships including Norwood's brother, rapper Ray J and later, singer Nick Lachey.[3] In 2006, Kourtney starred in her first reality television series, Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive.[4] In February 2007, a home sex video that Kim made with Ray J years earlier was leaked.[5] Vivid Entertainment bought the rights for $1 million and released the film as Kim Kardashian: Superstar on February 21.[5] Kim sued Vivid for ownership of the tape, but dropped the suit in April 2007 and settled with Vivid Entertainment for $5 million.[6]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

"[Kris] was interested in doing a television show and this was in the time that The Osbournes was popular. I had seen The Osbournes and thought to myself — because I had formed a production company — I thought we should find something in this vein. And at the time, we had heard that Kris was interested in doing something with the family, so it was me and one other guy at the company. [...] We had no idea it would become the monster pop culture business that it is."

Ryan Seacrest on developing the idea for the reality series.[7]

The idea of creating a reality series originated when Kris Jenner showed an interest in appearing on a television show together with her family. Producer Ryan Seacrest, who had his own production company, decided to develop the idea having a popular family-based show The Osbournes in his mind. He hired a camera man to visit the Kardashian's family house and tape them having a Sunday barbeque; "They were all together — as crazy and as fun as loving as they are," Seacrest described the family after seeing the tape and later shared it with the E! network initiating the series; the show was eventually picked up.[7][8] In August 2007, it was announced that the Kardashian and Jenner family would star in a yet-to-be-titled reality show on E! described as a "new non-scripted family sitcom", being produced by Ryan Seacrest and Bunim/Murray Productions. The series announcement came one week after Paris Hilton and her friend Nicole Richie announced that their popular E! series The Simple Life was ending.[9] Keeping Up With the Kardashians premiered on October 14, 2007,[10] and was renewed for a second season one month after its premiere citing the high ratings.[10] Seacrest described the show's success, "At the heart of the series—despite the catfights and endless sarcasm—is a family that truly loves and supports one another [...] The familiar dynamics of this family make them one Hollywood bunch that is sure to entertain."[4]

The following year, Keeping Up with the Kardashians was renewed for a third season. Lisa Berger, executive vice president of original programming and series development for the network, said "Viewers have embraced the Kardashian family and the series has become one of television's most-talked-about shows [...] We are fortunate to work with Seacrest and Bunim-Murray, which have an exceptional ability to capture the Kardashians' hilarious, chaotic and always entertaining personalities and family dynamics."[11] Starting with the seventh season, which premiered on May 20, 2012, the half-hour reality series was extended to a full hour.[12]

In 2011, Kim married NBA player Kris Humphries in a highly publicized wedding ceremony aired during the seventh season, but filed for divorce 72 days later,[13] which caused widespread backlash from the public and media.[14] Several news outlets surmised that Kardashian's marriage to Humphries was merely a publicity stunt in order to promote the Kardashian family's brand and their subsequent television ventures.[15] A widely circulated petition asking to remove all Kardashian-related programming from the air has followed since their split,[16] which, however, have not been taken seriously by the producers; Suzanne Kolb, the president of the E! network, has said that they were aware of the criticism but never "consider[ed] not to be in business with the Kardashians."[17] In April 2012, E! signed a three-year deal with the Kardashian family that kept the series airing through seasons seven, eight and nine.[18] The deal was estimated at $40 million.[19] Keeping up with the Kardashians was later renewed for a tenth season which premiered on March 15, 2015.[20] On February 26, 2015, it was announced that the reality series had been renewed for at least three more seasons; the deal included Kris, Kim, Kourtney, Khloé, Kendall and Kylie.[21]

Cast[edit]

The cast of the ninth season: Khloé, Kris, Kourtney, Kim, Kendall and Kylie (from left)

The reality series revolves around the children of Kris Jenner, and originally mainly focused on her children from her first marriage to deceased attorney Robert Kardashian: Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, and Rob. Kris' children Kendall and Kylie from the successive marriage to American athlete Caitlyn Jenner (then known as Bruce) have also been featuring in the show since its beginning,[22][23] along with Jenner's son Brody from another marriage, although he appeared very few times during the early seasons, mostly being called by his step-brother Rob to babysit their half-sisters Kylie and Kendall.[24] Kourtney's boyfriend Scott Disick has also been frequently appearing on the show since the first season as well as show's spin-offs.[22] Cast members also include numerous friends and other acquaintances of the family members, most notably Malika Haqq and Jonathan Cheban who joined Keeping Up with the Kardashians in the second and third seasons, respectively.[25][26]

Most of the significant others of the Kardashian sisters have appeared on the reality series. Kim's relationship with football player Reggie Bush has been featured on the show when they were dating; after the breakup Bush commented on appearing on the show by saying that he never felt comfortable being followed by cameras, adding "I do it because it's important to [Kim]."[27] Rob's relationship with singer Adrienne Bailon has also been documented on the show when they were dating from 2007 to 2009; although Bailon later admitted that the decision to appear on the show and be associated with the family were hurtful to her career.[28] Kim's ex-husband Kris Humphries first appeared on the show during the premiere of the sixth season; their relationship has been chronicled throughout the season and ended with a couple's wedding special "Kim’s Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event".[13] They eventually experienced a highly publicized divorce; it was later claimed that Humphries was allegedly set up to be portrayed on the show in a negative way and that the short-lived wedding was indeed staged for the cameras and a ploy to generate money.[29][30]

Khloé married basketball player Lamar Odom during a fourth season premiere aired in 2009, who later developed a major position as part of the supporting cast of the series, though he did not appear regularly during the following seasons as Odom was attempting to repair his marriage with Khloé.[31] Kim's current husband Kanye West made his first appearance on Keeping Up with the Kardashians in July 2012 during the seventh season when he started dating Kim whom he later married.[32] However, West showed very little presence throughout the subsequent seasons; he later explained the reasons for not appearing on the show, "You know, the amount of backlash I got from it is when I decided to not be on the show anymore. And it’s not that I have an issue with the show; I just have an issue with the amount of backlash that I get."[33] In the eighth season, Caitlyn Jenner's sons Brandon and Brody Jenner as well as Brandon's wife Leah joined the cast for regular appearances.[24]

Related programming[edit]

The promotional photo of Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami, showing the cast of one of the numerous spin-off shows

The success of the reality series has resulted in the development of several spin-off shows and other related programming. In April 2009, E! announced the first spin-off of Keeping Up with the Kardashians entitled Kourtney and Khloé in Miami, which was later renamed to Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami. The series followed the sisters who moved to Miami to open a new Dash boutique. Ted Harbert, president and CEO of Comcast Entertainment Group, considered the sisters being capable of handling their own standalone series. "It's a very simple formula that we took from scripted TV and applied to a reality show. [...] There are a lot of family sitcom elements to 'Kardashians,' and we think that humor and warmth will carry over to Miami," Harbert added.[34] The show premiered on August 16, 2009 to very high ratings; the episode brought in 2.7 million total viewers and then became the most-watched show on the network since The Anna Nicole Show in 2002.[35] The spin-off was subsequently renewed for a second season which premiered on June 13, 2010,[36] and later returned as Kourtney and Kim Take Miami for a third season on January 20, 2013.[37] Additionally, a series of webisodes entitled Lord Disick: Lifestyles of a Lord were released following the show, which showcased Disick as he informed viewers on how to live like a "king".[38]

In October 2010, the network announced another spin-off called Kourtney and Kim Take New York which followed the same format as its predecessor. The show debuted on January 23, 2011, and followed the sisters who were opening a Dash location in New York City.[39] The series returned for another season which premiered on November 27 the same year.[40] In January 2011, Khloé & Lamar was named as the third spin-off of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which featured Khloé and her now ex-husband, basketball player Lamar Odom.[41] The show premiered on April 10, 2011, and lasted two seasons.[42] In March 2014, E! announced the fourth spin-off entitled Kourtney and Khloé Take The Hamptons.[43] Kourtney & Khloé Take the Hamptons premiered on November 2, 2014, and followed Kourtney and Khloé who relocated to The Hamptons to work on opening a new Dash pop-up store.[44] The fifth spin-off series has also been announced entitled Dash Dolls. The forthcoming reality series will chronicle the daily life of the employees of the upscale Dash boutiques owned by the Kardashian family.[45]

A few days after Caitlyn Jenner (then Bruce) came out as a trans woman during the 20/20 interview with Diane Sawyer, E! aired a two-part special on Keeping Up with the Kardashians entitled "About Bruce", in which another side of the story was told featuring family members who were not involved in the previous interview on 20/20.[46] The special debuted on May 17, 2015, and brought in 2.92 million total viewers, a 40% increase from the previous episode, while the second part aired the following day with viewership dropping by 13%.[47] I Am Cait, a separate documentary series, was announced immediately after the 20/20 interview. The eight-part one-hour docuseries debuted on July 26, 2015, on E!, and focused on how Jenner is handling the aftermath of the transition as well as approached various LGBT-related issues.[48][49] Jeff Olde, the head of programming of E! network, said that the series is "not at all a Kardashian spin-off", and that "we will not resort to spectacle," trying to emphasize its distinct format that is entirely different from most programming on the network, including Keeping Up with the Kardashians.[50]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

"The Kardashians are the last ladies standing in reality TV because they've simply always believed they were celebrities – endlessly amused with themselves, endlessly oblivious to one another. Their vanity is impervious to the outside world, which is how many of us often wish our own personal vanity worked. Their gargantuan egos, their petty jealousies, their catty feuds, the effort-vs.-eye-roll they put into reciting their lines, their commitment to frivolity at all costs – these are seductive qualities in a reality-TV star, however repugnant they might be in real life. Whatever it is you watch reality TV for, the Kardashians just have a lot more of it."

Rob Sheffield from Rolling Stone.[51]

Keeping Up with the Kardashians has been the subject of constant panning by critics since its inception. Ginia Bellafonte from The New York Times compared the series to Gene Simmons Family Jewels and exclaimed that "the Kardashian show is not about an eccentric family living conventionally; it is purely about some desperate women climbing to the margins of fame, and that feels a lot creepier."[52] Amaya Rivera, writing for Popmatters, has stated, regarding the series generally, "Indeed, there is something a disturbing about the Kardashians’ intense hunger for fame. But even worse—it is downright boring to watch this family live out their tedious lives."[53] Laura Burrows of IGN criticized the family for being too self-seeking and using the given platform to only gain more notoriety. Reviewing the last episode of the second season, Burrows wrote, "Those of us who watch this show [...] want to believe that these whores of attention have souls and would actually do something for their fellow man and not reap the benefits of their service, but two seasons' worth of self-absorbed egocentrism speaks to the contrary."[54]

Roxana Hadadi, reviewing the third season for The Washington Post, was extremely negative about the series due to its absurdity and said that the season "firmly captures all of Kim and Co.’s dumbest instances from the series’ debut — from the simply self-absorbed to the downright despicable."[55] Lauren Hoffman, recapping the episode "Color Me Lonely" aired in July 2014 for Cosmopolitan, said, "I'm not saying someone has to smash a mirror in every show, and I'm all for episodes about art appraisal and family system dynamics, but we'll be getting to the legit drama soon, right? Right? Fortunately, even in its slowest of hours, the Kardashians never fail to deliver winners, losers, and awkward product placement."[56] Lauren Le Vine of Refinery29 appreciated the success of the family who "achieved the American dream of making something out of nothing," using the given platform.[57] Libby Hill from The A.V. Club also acknowledged the show's success and said, "Keeping Up With The Kardashians gives us real, joyous, ugly, unsavory, hilarious life, with all the polished sitcom trappings. And though the latter may have launched a multimedia empire, the former has made it last".[58]

John Kubicek, the senior writer of BuddyTV, said that "the Kardashians' fame is a lot like Möbius strip or an M. C. Escher painting."[59] Harriet Ryan and Adam Tschorn from Los Angeles Times described Keeping Up with the Kardashians as a "Hollywood version of The Brady Bunch -- the harmless high jinks of a loving blended family against a backdrop of wealth and famous connections".[60] Tim Stack of Entertainment Weekly welcomed the show as a guilty pleasure and described the reality series as "my favorite little slice of reality TV spongecake."[61] Maura Kelly from The Guardian evaluated the aftermath of the failed wedding of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries which was documented on Keeping Up with the Kardashians and subsequently caused public outrage. "Since Kim doesn't exactly seem to be an exemplar of self-awareness, I suppose it's possible that she really believed she and Humphries would live happily ever after," Kelly speculated whether the marriage was a publicity stunt. "But more likely, she and E! are laughing all the way to the bank – 10.5 million viewers tuned into "Kim's Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event", after all," Kelly summarized the controversy.[62]

"The title of the show is misleading – Keeping Up with the Kardashians has me imagining the raven-haired siblings being tracked by a slobbering pack of hunting dogs. Sadly, the reality is much more mundane. The best we can hope for is a peek into the crazy chaos of life on the A-list. [...] The Kardashians would be the first to admit that their notoriety has little to do with any discernible talent, beyond an alarming capability for self-promotion."

—Gareth Dimelow from Sabotage Times.[63]

Vinnie Mancuso, writing for The New York Observer, criticized the show and felt "roughly one iota of shadenfreudic pleasure from this endeavor, but for the most part this show is the 100% drizzling poops."[64] Goal Auzeen Saedi, reviewing Keeping Up with the Kardashians for Psychology Today, emphasized the show's influence by saying that "The Kardashians become more relatable the more famous they become." Saedi also questioned their decision to appear on the show and added, "But if living life in the spotlight is so taxing and demands multiple justifications for the way your life is being lived and criticized, perhaps you can take the cameras out of your house."[65] David Hinckley of the New York Daily News, reviewing the tenth season, said that "even when you think something about the Kardashians could be interesting, it’s not," also adding that the "entertainment value [of the show] is like having spent 10 years in Rapid City, S.D., watching the traffic lights change."[66] Amy Amatangelo from The Hollywood Reporter said that "in true Kardashian fashion, they managed to make everything about them," after Caitlyn Jenner came out as a trans woman to her family in "About Bruce" special aired as part of the tenth season. Amatangelo felt that the conversations "seemed a little too staged, too controlled," and noted that "there was no attempt to educate the viewers about transgender issues."[67]

Viewership[edit]

"At their core, the Kardashians are an incredibly bonded, loving, large family who live an incredibly large life. And if you actually look at the history of television, there's a pretty large number of families with that blend resonating with viewers. This just happens to be the first reality show that does it. [...] It's just an incredibly fascinating drama that's played out. But at its core, you know that they're going to end up around that dinner table together."

—E! President Suzanne Kolb explains the popularity of the series in an interview with TheWrap.[17]

Keeping Up with the Kardashians has been a ratings hit for E! – in its first month it became the highest-rated series aired on Sunday nights for adults 18–34 and was seen by 1.3 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.[10][68] Lisa Berger, executive vice president of original programming and series development for E!, said "The buzz surrounding the series is huge, and viewers have clearly fallen for the Kardashians. [...] Seacrest and Bunim-Murray's unique ability to capture this family's one-of-a-kind dynamics and hilarious antics has made the series a fantastic addition to our prime-time lineup."[10] The second season continued the success and was viewed by 1.6 million viewers on average, which lead to third season renewal.[69] The two-hour fourth season premiere, which aired on November 8, 2009 and featured the wedding ceremony of Khloé and Lamar Odom, brought in then-record ratings with 3.2 million viewers.[70] The subsequent season debuted with nearly 4.7 million total viewers, which ranked as the highest-rated season premiere of the show, as of August 2015.[71] It was also the second highest-rated episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, second only to previous season's record-breaking finale with 4.8 million viewers.[72]

The seventh season premiere of the series, which aired on May 20, 2012 in its earlier timeslot, continued to deliver high ratings and attracted almost 3 million total viewers as well as exceeded the premiere of the previous season by 16%.[73] Kim Kardashian, one of the co-stars of the series, has explained the success of the show by saying that people tune in to watch the series because they can relate themselves to the members of the family; in an interview with the V magazine the reality television star said, "You can see that soap operas aren’t on the air as much anymore. I think reality shows are taking over that genre, but I think the draw to our show is that we are relatable."[74] The eighth season debuted to 3 million viewers, up 6% from the previous season, while the subsequent ninth season's premiere was down by 20%.[75][76] The ninth season averaged almost 2.2 million adults 18–49 and 3.3 million total viewers, and was the highest rated cable show in its timeslot.[20] The series finished as the most-social ad-supported cable program and, as of March 2015, Keeping Up with the Kardashians is the most-watched show on E! network.[77] The first episode of the most recent season averaged 2.5 million viewers, slightly less than the premiere of the ninth season.[78]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Keeping Up with the Kardashians has been nominated and won several television awards. The reality series has received nominations for a Teen Choice Award in the Choice TV: Celebrity Reality Show category eight times every year since 2008, winning three awards. The show also won a People's Choice Award as Favorite TV Guilty Pleasure in 2011. The Kardashian sisters have been nominated as part of the cast for five awards, winning four times; Kim Kardashian has additionally won one award by herself.

Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result Source
2008 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Celebrity Reality Show Keeping Up with the Kardashians Nominated [79]
Choice TV Reality/Variety Star: Female Kim Kardashian Nominated
2009 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Reality Show Keeping Up with the Kardashians Nominated [80]
Choice TV Reality/Variety Star: Female Kim Kardashian Nominated
2010 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Reality Show Keeping Up with the Kardashians Won [81]
Choice TV Reality/Variety Star: Female The Kardashian sisters Won
Choice TV: Parental Unit Kris Jenner and Caitlyn Jenner Nominated
2011 Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer TV Show Keeping Up with the Kardashians Nominated [82]
Choice TV Reality/Variety Star: Female The Kardashian sisters Won
People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Guilty Pleasure Keeping Up with the Kardashians Won [83]
2012 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Reality Show Keeping Up with the Kardashians Nominated [84]
Choice TV Reality/Variety Star: Female The Kardashian sisters Won
People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Celebreality Star Kim Kardashian Won [85]
2013 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Reality Show Keeping Up with the Kardashians Won [86]
Choice TV Reality/Variety Star: Female The Kardashian sisters Won
2014 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Reality Show Keeping Up with the Kardashians Won [87]
Choice TV Reality/Variety Star: Female The Kardashian sisters Nominated
2015 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Reality Show Keeping Up with the Kardashians Nominated [88]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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