The Kardashians producer Ben Winston has revealed he never watched the original show about the famous siblings as he wanted the new series to evolve in different directions along with their lives.
Keeping Up With The Kardashians came to an end in June 2021 after 14 years and 20 seasons of the show, which became a pop culture juggernaut after launching in 2007 with a cast of largely unknown sisters.
The new series by Disney+ launched last year and follows on from its predecessor in documenting the personal lives and business ventures of the Kardashian-Jenner family.
Reflecting on how the show has evolved, the Emmy-winning producer told the PA news agency: “I’ve got to be honest with you, not because it’s not a great show, because it is, but I made a decision, which is a weird one, I’ve never seen an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”
He explained that after the Disney+ show was given approval, he sat down to watch the previous version for research but turned it off as he felt they could create “something more different” if he did not have the former references in mind.
He added: “People often say to us ‘oh the show is so different to what it used to be’. And the truth of it is, that’s partly because I don’t really know what it used to be and I think that’s a really helpful thing.
“As we move in season four, on this show, I think things always seem to evolve with the family.
“I think their lives change, their responsibilities change, the way they deal with issues in their lives, the businesses that are growing, the relationship statuses that they find themselves in, I think that changes and it’s always interesting, because I think they have fascinating and interesting lives.”
The family, headed up by matriarch and “momager” Kris Jenner, now preside over vast business empires worth billions and are among the world’s most famous stars after the success of their previous show.
Winston feels the draw to the reality stars is down to them being both unrelatable and relatable at the same time.
“You are seeing a section of life you don’t always get to see and that is the Hollywood lifestyle, the amazing lives they lead, backstage at fashion shows, getting ready for the Met Gala,” he said.
“It is that crazy lifestyle that we imagine what it would be like but they really show us what that’s like…
“As much as unrelatability is a factor, relatability is a factor because there you have Kim as a single mother dealing with running her business, being a good mum, doing a law degree, working on social reform, now suddenly trying acting.
“Juggling as many things that we all have to deal with in our lives and trying to also cope with it.”
The British producer also feels their love for one another is a key draw, adding: “Kris is the mother hen of that group, the sisters can fight and squabble but ultimately, there is nothing more important than their love for each other.”
They are currently in production for season five while season six has already been commissioned.
Winston, who has executive produced The Late Late Show with James Corden and The Grammy Awards, said a draw to the project for his team was to be part of something that has been in the “cultural zeitgeist” for so long and to feel at its core it is a “fascinating story”.
He revealed that when he was interviewing people to work on the show, he would not tell them what series it was for but just focused on it being a family of all women who “all run businesses that are huge” and “they’ve all got fascinating love lives”.
“I think it’s really important to forget the name for a second and feature on the person,” he added.
“And (those) people are really interesting people to be making a show about, forgetting all the history of what we know about them.
“So at its heart, I think we like to tell good stories, whatever that means.”
Season 4 of The Kardashians is streaming weekly on Disney+. Seasons 1 to 3 are available to stream in full on Disney+ now.