On the Season 4 premiere of “The Kardashians,” Kim Kardashian and Kourtney Kardashian Barker get into a heated argument. The storyline has been brewing since last season, but fans of the famous family know that the two sisters have been at it for years. But this time seems different.
“This season starts with more of the fallout of what happened with Kim and Kourtney,” says Ben Winston, who, as a partner at Fulwell 73 Productions, is an executive producer of the show.
“There’s no doubt about it — it’s probably our most fiery scene that we’ve ever shot, in the premiere,” Winston adds. “But then, pretty soon you see the heal the rift starting to heal.”
Sisters fighting isn’t all that will be seen on the fourth season of “The Kardashians,” which films continuously, and now has cameras rolling for its fifth season. Season 4 was shot between February and July of this year, so the most recent updates in the family’s lives that have already played out for the world in real-time across tabloids and on social media won’t be seen on this new season.
But, of course, we asked about it all anyway.
What is the theme of this season?
Last season, obviously there was a lot of discourse between Kim and Kourtney. And I think that if there was a theme with this season, it’s that whatever happens in their family, blood is always more important than anything. The key to their success, in truth, is that whatever happens in their lives, whatever disputes they may have, nothing is more important than the family.
How tense was it behind the scenes filming with Kourtney and Kim?
Everything what you see is exactly what happens. It’s always tense when you’re filming disputes. But I have so much respect for the family, because they always allow us to film — but it’s always difficult to be filming hard scenes like that. On the one hand, when things like that happen, it’s going to be good for storylines. On the other hand, it’s also tense and a difficult thing to film.
But you also know that they’re going to work through it. They have a way of saying whatever they feel at that moment to each other, but you know that that is always going to end OK with them. Because, like I said, family is always the most important thing.
Whose idea was it to have them Kim and Kourtney sit next to each other for their confessional? And how did they feel about that?
I imagine Danielle King, our showrunner, probably suggested it to them. But by then, I think the ice had been broken, and the relationship had been healed, and it was quite important for them to sit together and be interviewed together, because it was important that they showed the united front. I think that also allows you to show the truth of what happened in the dispute, because you see the love and respect they have for each other afterwards by sitting next to each other and chatting it through on our cameras.
It was very meta how they spoke about how their fight was amplified by watching the edits from the show.
We do that a lot on the show. We’ve done that consistently. In one of the seasons, we featured Kourtney discussing how she wasn’t happy with the edit of something. And than another season, we showed Kim reading a bad review. I think it was in Variety.
Yes, it was. It was written by Daniel D’Addario.
You cannot hide from the fact that their life is filmed by us on this show, and so therefore, if you were to hide from the fact that they are affected by the show, that wouldn’t really be true and it wouldn’t be real to what’s happening in their lives. Rather than hiding from it, or pretending the cameras aren’t there and pretending people aren’t watching the episodes or pretending they’re not watching the edits, we go the other way — and we make it part of the show, because it is such a big part of their lives.
As executive producers, how much of a say do they have about the edit, and what actually ends up in the show?
They have a say. There’s no question of it. They’re executive producers of the show. We always have discussions over things. Sometimes, they back down on things. Sometimes, we have to talk things through. It’s really important for them that the show is great. They also want the show to be truthful and honest, and therefore, it’s not as much of an issue for me that they are involved in the edit because as long as you come to it with wanting it to be truthful and honest, but also really good television, you have less concerns with them being involved in it.
They play a very active role in the note process, but then they’re also open to discussion about it if they weren’t to like something. Our team could always talk openly and honestly about why certain things are included, and compromises can be met. And as you’ve seen on the show, sometimes they’re unhappy with the way it comes out, and we’ve addressed that by literally putting it in the show itself.
But on the whole, it’s a very collaborative process with them. I don’t see them as the subjects of our show. I see them as our partners.
Is there anything that they won’t share?
Yeah, of course, there are things in their lives that they’re not comfortable showing. So much of their lives are already out there and speculated about, so not everything is always on the show. And we’re really respectful in that. But there’s never a moment where we don’t feel like we are getting amazing access.
According to the season sizzle, Tristian Thompson is a big part of Khloé’s storyline. Can you tease what we will see there?
They’re very honest about their situation. That is a big focus of this season for Khloé, navigate her living situation – because they’re living together, but they’re not together – and co-parenting. Him making right with members of the family for what happened. Khloé and Tristian are a big part of this season.
The season starts in Cabo, and a lot of them are talking about being single. But now, in real time, they’re not single. So I have to ask you: Have you filmed anything with Kylie Jenner and Timotheé Chalamet, now that they’ve been out in public together?
Do you have plans to?
No comment. Nothing I can say can bring me good things on that. If I say I hope to, then suddenly that’s a headline, and suddenly I don’t get any access. I can’t win on that. So I can just say that we haven’t filmed anything.
How about with Kendall and Bad Bunny?
No, we haven’t filmed that.
How about Kim’s dating life? There have been some rumors out there about Tom Brady, and now, Odell Beckham Jr. Will we see any of her dating life this season?
Kim shares so much with us on camera. I think, for her, this season is more about how she juggles her insanely crazy life of being this hands-on mom, this kickass business woman, and the responsibilities that are growing as she takes on more and more roles. The juggling of it all — plus her law, plus her social reform — is a big part of this show this year.
Last season, she was more open than she’s ever been about Kanye West, and she addressed his antisemitic behavior. Will we see anything about Kanye being addressed at all this season?
It’s definitely not a huge storyline, because we’ve moved past that. I can’t really remember if she ever discusses.
What about Kim filming “American Horror Story?” Will we see her preparing for her first starring acting role?
Yeah, that is a big part of her story.
Did you see in the “American Horror Story” trailer that Kim’s character is cutting a cucumber?
Oh my god, I didn’t see that. That’s so funny. I love it when stuff like that from the show just hits the zeitgeist. I cannot believe that’s become a thing.
Kourtney is pregnant, and we see in the trailer that’s going to be discussed in the season. Do you have plans to film her giving birth? Because she’s done that before, and when I spoke to her, she told me doing that on camera is actually one of her most proud moments.
Well, I don’t have any plans right now — I don’t know where we are on that just yet. Listen, if it was down to us, we’d film everything, but we also really respect them and their privacy. I’m so happy for Kourtney and Travis, because that was a big part of the story when they first got together was them trying for that baby. The moment she reveals it to the world at the concert with that sign is such a beautiful moment for them as a family.
What we will film, I don’t know. That will be down to her — not me. She will decide whatever she wants to share.
The show is renewed through Season 6. Have you had discussions with the family about how long they want to continue doing this?
No, I haven’t, and I hope I don’t have to. I hope we can continue to keep going. If it was down to me, we’d go for a very, very long time. Maybe at some point, they’ll come to us and say, “Look, it’s time. We’re done.” But right now, I don’t think about that.
We’re shooting Season 5 already, and we’re really excited about what we’re getting. There’s no signs of stopping right now.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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