Despite the haters, Kris Jenner is having the last laugh as Keeping Up With The Kardashians enters its ninth season.
"I am wearing a dress that is way short to sit on this,” Kris Jenner points to the high stool where she’s supposed to sit for the interview.
We are at E! Channel’s head office in Los Angeles where Jenner has agreed to speak to members of the international media to plug the latest season of Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
The matriarch of the (in)famous Kardashian clan is wearing a short dress by Valentino as she figures out how to get on the high stool.
Instead of asking for a height-appropriate chair, Jenner is determined to make this work. “No peeking. And that means you,” she points to all of us on the floor as she gets on the stool.
That gesture by Jenner pretty much sums up her family’s attitude: throw them a curveball, they will rise to the challenge.
For nine seasons, viewers have been transfixed with the lives of the Kardashian clan in Kardashians – one of the most popular reality shows on television.
While detractors are aplenty and criticise the family as fame seekers with no talent to offer, a scan of weekly tabloids and popular entertainment websites show that people just can’t get enough them.
Kardashians follows the lives of Jenner and her family which includes husband Bruce Jenner, her kids from her first marriage – Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and Robert; two teenage daughters from her marriage to Bruce – Kendall and Kylie; and Kourtney’s family – boyfriend Scott and son Mason.
Jenner’s theory on why viewers tune in week after week to watch the show is because her family is fun.
“It is sort of the perfect storm,” she says of the dynamics of her family.
“Anybody who started watching the show and is invested in the family has seen it grow and we just let it all hang out. People can relate to a big crazy family and although we bicker all the time, we are also always there for each other. There is just a lot of love in the family.”
Pretty much nothing is staged or scripted on Kardashians according to Jenner.
“What you see on TV is what you get (in real life). My friends who come over would always tell me, ‘It’s wild here, you should have a reality show!’,” remembers Jenner.
One night, many years ago, she threw a dinner party where a guest was thoroughly entertained by her family’s antics. “This girl was watching this whole scene unfold in front of her and told me it’s nuts in my household. She suggested I meet with Ryan Seacrest.”
Never one to let a good opportunity slip pass her, Jenner set up a meeting with Seacrest (who later
became the producer of Kardashians) and pitched the idea to him. He obviously loved the concept and took it to E!. “We started filming in a month and we have not stopped filming since,” Jenner beams.
Lucky for her, there wasn’t much resistance from her family when she told them that cameras would be tailing them ... well, everyone except one.
“The only person who really had an issue was Kourtney. She wasn’t quite sure if she wanted her life out there all of the time.”
So, Jenner made a deal with her family – anytime one of them is not having a good time filming the show, they can call it quits. “No one has ever said we are not having a good time. We really like what we are doing, honestly. I feel we are lucky to get up every single day and work with each other,” she says.
Even when the going gets tough, the clan soldiers on in front of the camera.
Season Nine of Kardashians sees the family going through some tough times. Jenner, for one, has separated from her husband of 23 years, Bruce Jenner.
Khloe’s marriage to Lamar Odom has been on the rocks for some time and after months of speculation, the couple has confirmed they are divorcing.
Jenner has taken all these heartaches and turned it into must-watch TV. “(For this season) the sad news is that Khloe has filed for divorce, so we see her going through that. Bruce and I have separated, so you kind of see the dynamics of how we are evolving. It’s literally happening now as we speak. So, you are not getting a season that is stale even by a month or two. You are getting it on the fly.”
If that sounds like a pitch for you to watch her show, it is! Don’t forget, Jenner is the mastermind of the Kardashian brand. She is the manager of her children’s career – from the Kardashian fashion line to Kylie’s and Kendall’s modelling careers, nothing gets pass her.
While some mothers have tried managing their children’s career and failed (think Dina Lohan), Jenner has done a spectacular job. (Then again, she has experience having managed Bruce’s career for the past two decades.)
Just a look at how much her kids have earned under her watchful eyes will be a good indication on what a great manager Jenner is. Kim is the top earner in the family, raking in US$40mil (RM128mil); Kourtney and Khloe are worth US$20mil (RM64mil) each; Rob’s income is US$3.5mil (RM11.2mil); and Kendall and Kylie have earned US$3.5mil (RM11.2mil) collectively. Jenner herself is said to be worth about US$20mil.
“I am their manager because I have their best interest at heart. I am available to them 24/7 versus a manager that works in the office from nine to five.
“I come from a place where I want the best for them regardless. So, I think they win in the end. I think I am going to start charging more,” she laughs.
>>Season Nine of Keeping Up With The Kardashians airs every Tuesday at 10pm on E! (Astro Ch 712).