- The Kardashian family returned to television in April with their new Hulu show “The Kardashians.”
- The show is executive produced by showrunner Danielle King, along with Fulwell 73 and the family.
- King spoke with Insider about making the show and navigating sensitive subjects on camera.
The Kardashians are back, and they’re more polished than ever.
“The Kardashians,” the family’s new
series, came less than 10 months on the heels on their previous series, E!’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” ending after 14 years. But it’s hard to say that they were ever gone in the first place: In the brief hiatus when Kris, Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, Kendall, and Kylie were making the pivot from network to streamer, they were no less a part of the zeitgeist . Still, “The Kardashians” makes even events that have been well-trodden in the news, like Kim hosting “Saturday Night Live,” feel novel.
Helmed by Emmy-nominated showrunner Danielle King (“Million Dollar Listing,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race”) and produced by British production company Fulwell 73 — all of the Kardashian-Jenner women are credited as executive producers, as well — the show is a sleek, documentary-style take on their lives.
Insider spoke with King about making the series, including why Pete Davidson did not appear on-camera in the show’s first season, how the family navigated difficult topics like Kim’s divorce from Ye (formerly Kanye West), and what it was like to unexpectedly catch breaking news as it happens while the cameras are rolling.
The producers take their cues from the Kardashians when navigating touchy topics
You’ve said in the past that the family is really on board with showing all sides of their lives, but there are still some boundaries that we see on the show — like in episode five, Kim said that she’s selective about what she says about Ye on the show in part because she wants to protect him. How do you work with the family to navigate sensitive subjects like Kim and Ye’s divorce?
I really just take my cues from the family. My job is to follow their life and to capture what they want to share, and whatever boundaries they have, I totally respect that.
They have a history of sharing just about everything, but most of them are moms and they have kids. I think everyone out there that’s a mother and has children would understand having boundaries. Who wants to protect her kids, so sometimes she might not give every dirty detail, because it’s her job, first and foremost, to protect her kids. And that’s what she does.
We see a little bit of Ye here and there in the show. Were there any moments where he may have made it on camera, but who did set that boundary?
With Kanye, obviously they’re going through a divorce. So there’s co-parenting moments on our show because that’s what’s going on legitimately for Kim. But it’s Kim’s show. It’s the Kardashians’ show. So everything that we’re showing is Kim’s perspective. Kanye definitely has his perspective, but it’s not the show’s responsibility to follow Kanye’s perspective.
Can we expect to see something like Kim’s reaction to Ye sending a truck full of roses to her on Valentine’s Day, or events around that time in her life?
I never really discuss the specifics of what’s coming up in episodes until a super-tease is released, or a “next on…” from an episode. I’m very careful. I’ll answer the same as I always do: You’ll have to tune in and see.
We’ve finally started to see some teases of Kim and Pete Davidson’s relationship in the episodes of the show that have aired. Was there ever any push to get Pete on camera for this first season?
We respect the cast’s boundaries, and you know, Kim was starting a new relationship. Who actually addresses that in the show coming up.
I don’t think it’s a big surprise. Anyone who’s just starting a new relationship is gonna take a moment before they are ready to share something with the world. It’s just human. It surprises me that people are surprised that they wanted to keep the beginning of their relationship a little bit private. Like, doesn’t everybody?
Filming big moments, like Travis Barker’s proposal to Kourtney Kardashian, can be tricky for the show’s crew
Speaking of privacy, and keeping things under wraps, you’ve spoken a bit in the past about what it was like preparing to shoot Travis’ proposal for episode four while simultaneously keeping Kourtney out of the loop — you told Variety that Travis even saved your name in his phone as “Bob.” Were there any other anecdotes from planning to shoot that, while also keeping it on the down-low?
One of the biggest things production-wise with this episode was Travis and Kourtney trying to have a baby. There was this question of the “when” of an egg retrieval. We like to plan, but we had no idea where the proposal was gonna be, or when it was gonna be. We just had to be ready to spring into action.
So in terms of the whole proposal, it was planned production. I’m not talking about the actual engagement, because that really was planned entirely by Travis. The real-life event was all Travis. It was so impressive. He’s so romantic, and he is a perfectionist. He was on top of every single detail. It was impressive, but then on the production side, it was just a lot of biting our nails.
Is there anything that you can tease about the end of Kylie’s pregnancy, and eventually the birth of her son?
We touch on it, but you’ll have to tune in to see what’s coming.
You’ve spoken a bit to the spontaneity of filming this show. Was there anything that you were genuinely shocked to have caught on camera this season?
We happened to be at Kim’s house to movie something else early in the morning, and that’s when Kim saw the headlines about Tristan. And I know people might question like, were the cameras really there? But yes, oftentimes we happen to be shooting. We happen to be present to shoot something that ends up not getting shot because something else happens that ends up in all the headlines and we just happen to catch it because our cameras happen to be there.
There was a lot of chatter about Kim’s last coming across the thing [about her sex tape with Ray J] on Roblox, and people were questioning that as well. But we were legitimately shooting. We didn’t even know we had that moment until at a later time somebody from post-production called me and said, “Hey, we have this moment at the barbecue.” And I was like, “Oh, let me see it. Oh, god. Okay.”
We’re shooting so much, and I think that’s hard for fans to grasp, but we just really do capture a lot of authentic moments as they’re breaking.
With news of Tristan Thompson’s repeated infidelity in his relationship with Khloé, what was it like shooting all of that, especially given Khloé’s comments that just aired in episode four about the work that he’s put in for their relationship and their reconciliation?
It’s a great question, because I’ve fallen in love with the cast and I deeply care about them, so that scene felt very heartbreaking to me. It was truly heartbreaking. You know, I’m filming it, but there’s still a human aspect to all of it. My heart was just utterly breaking for Khloé.
This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
New episodes of “The Kardashians” air Thursdays on Hulu.