Roy Gilbert

Kris Jenner made a ‘prophetic’ promise. Then the Kardashians changed celebrity forever

When a marginally famous family made its reality TV debut in October 2007, Hollywood writers were on the brink of the longest work stoppage since 1988 and our long lost friend, the BlackBerry, was still riding high as the smartphone of choice. Instagram? Hadn’t been invented yet.

Modeled after MTV’s popular reality series “The Osbournes,” which followed the antics of rocker Ozzy Osbourne and his family in the early aughts, E!’s “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” featuring Kris Jenner, Caitlyn Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Khloé Kardashian, Rob Kardashian, Kendall Jenner and Kylie Jenner, may have started out as a copycat. But it became an unexpected billion-dollar empire that turned the clan at its center into industry titans who’ve left an indelible imprint on contemporary pop culture and reshaped the celebrity economy. The series has since spawned more than a dozen spinoffs, ancillary business ventures and countless gossip-site clicks, fueled by romantic drama, public missteps and now a controversial run for California governor by Caitlyn Jenner.

Whether you consider this polarizing crew purveyors of a new kind of pop culture savvy or the poster family for the perils of fast fame in the 21st century, there’s no denying that the Kardashians exemplify the ascent of reality TV in American life. And now, after nearly 14 years and 20 seasons, the Kardashian-Jenners are turning off the cameras at E! Not that they’d ever totally ditch the cameras: Shortly after announcing the end of their flagship program, members of the Kardashian-Jenner family signed […]

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