Imagine a world without Keeping Up With the Kardashians? The hit show almost never made it to air because producers believed the soon-to-be-stars were “talentless.”
In fact, it was only when show creator Ryan Seacrest took the concept to the boss of E! that it got picked up.
Ted Harbert was president and CEO of the Comcast Entertainment Group, which included E!, and he recalled the day the American Idol host gave him the sizzle reel that would eventually become KUWTK. “He called me and said in a very polite, respectful way about my own staff, he said, ‘I know I’m going over people’s heads but your staff has passed on this tape a few times. I know I’m going over people’s heads, but I’d appreciate it if you’d give it a look.'”
He continued, “He sent it to me that day, I took it home that night and looked at it. If I remember correctly it was just seven minutes of a barbecue put together. And I went in the next day and said to my staff, “We’re putting this on the air. This is a hit.'” He noted that the Live With Kelly and Ryan star “really believed in it.”
The teaser showed the Kardashians — including matriarch Kris Jenner and sisters Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian and Khloé Kardashian — at a Sunday backyard barbecue. Harbert said his staff was puzzled by his enthusiasm, claiming the family “don’t really have talent, they don’t really do anything.”
Despite pushback, Harbert insisted the concept of the show followed “a classic family drama formula” and he knew it would be a success. He added, “They fight, they scream, but at the end they really love each other. And that had a lot to do with Kris as the matriarch pulling the whole family together after whatever they were fighting about.”
After over 260 episodes of the show, it’s safe to say that Ted’s judgment was correct. In September 2020, however, Kim shocked fans when she announced her family’s long-running series would come to an end in 2021 after 20 seasons.
“It is with heavy hearts that we’ve made the difficult decision as a family to say goodbye to Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” her lengthy message began. “After what will be 14 years, 20 seasons, hundreds of episodes and numerous spin-off shows, we are beyond grateful to all of you who’ve watched us for all of these years — through the good times, the bad times, the happiness, the tears and the many relationships and children. We’ll forever cherish the wonderful memories and countless people we’ve met along the way.”
The Skims founder also graciously gave a “very special thank you to Ryan Seacrest for believing in us, E! for being our partner and our production team at Bunim/Murray, who’ve spent countless hours documenting our lives.”
“Without Keeping Up with The Kardashians, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Kim concluded her post. “This show made us who we are, and I will be forever in debt to everyone who played a role in shaping our careers and changing our lives forever.”
Hmm … perhaps we now know why Scott Disick named his clothing brand Talentless? … Just a hunch!
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