It’s the Kardashians, like you’ve never seen them before.
In the wake of departing E! after 20 seasons with their signature reality show Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the family took the concept of putting their personal lives on camera to the next level, and that is with Hulu in their revamped series The Kardashians. Everything up about it is more luxurious: glitzy production quality, jaw-dropping drone cinematography, and overall a pivot to embrace a more documentary tone.
Contenders TV Docs + Unscripted — Deadline’s Complete Coverage
Oh, and another thing, the entertainment industry-savvy family is reaching a bigger audience on streaming. Already, Disney has declared The Kardashians is the most-watched series premiere on Hulu in the U.S., and on Disney+ and Star+ among Star Originals across all global markets to date.
Kim Kardashian and and Fulwell 73 exec and EP Ben Winston joined Deadline to kick off the Contenders Television: Documentary + Unscripted award-season event and discuss the show, which reps the first reality series for the company, in which James Corden is a partner.
What was key in taking a fresh lens to the dynasty, he said, is “judging this family, not on any preconceptions, not on who they were in the past, but we were simply looking at them as almost the icons they are today.”
“You take these six incredible business people and the success they’ve had in all walks of life, and they’re also related and have an incredibly aspirational tight bond as a family, and you make a documentary series about that, that informs all the decisions you’re making,” said Winston, from “cinematography that matches the prestige that they are today, or a soundtrack.”
“We tried to elevate the show as best we could, but starting from a blank slate,” the EP adds about the series, which was shot in such locations as the Dominican Republic, New York City and Miami.
In regards to mapping out the show, it’s combo of looking at the family’s individual schedules — i.e., Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker’s expected marriage, or Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy — to just winging it.
“Thing come out of left field on a daily basis, and things just happen that we can never plan for,” Kim Kardashian tells us about the series’ spontaneous magic, “If you go with the flow and trust us, that you’ll always get an episode, nothing needs to be mapped out.”
In addition to starring, Kardashian and her sisters, as well as mother Kris Jenner, are all executive producers on the series.
In regards to whether we’ll see Kim with her new beau Pete Davidson outside of her guest-hosting on SNL, Winston answers “you’ll just have to watch.”
What we will definitely see, per Winston and Kim, is the latter’s continued crusade in criminal justice reform.
“We’ve been filming footage to show you how cases get brought to my attention, and how I really see them through and what happens, the groundwork that has to happen in a case,” said Kardashian, who passed the First Year Law Students’ Exam, aka “The Baby Bar,” back in December.
In full-out reveal of Episode 6 of The Kardashians, Winston said: “Episode 6 of our series is the most defining moment of the difference between the old show and the new show. … We’re essentially a fly-on-the-wall where Kim, by hook or by crook, she’s going to get Julius Jones off death row.”
Jones, an inmate from Oklahoma, was convicted in July 1999 for the murder of Paul Howell. Jones and his defense team maintain his innocence, arguing that he was at home when the murder occurred and that his co-defendant, Christopher Jordan, is the true perpetrator of the crime.
“We start the episode where it doesn’t look great for Julius and by the end of it, things are slightly better than they were at the beginning of the episode,” Winston tells Deadline.
“I think if there’s one moment that defines the change and the elevation of this series, and the more documentary feel of it, it is that,” says Winston, “where I’m not convinced that five or six years that is necessarily an episode that would have been on Keeping Up With the Kardashians.“
Check out the panel video above.
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.