If E! isn't careful, the entertainment cable channel could easily become "The Kardashian Channel" since audiences don't seem to be tiring in the least of the Southern California family and their reality series exploits. With last weekend's season 2 finale of "Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami" getting huge ratings and, this Sunday marking the premiere of the latest season of its parent series "Keeping Up With The Kardashians", audiences are clearly clamoring for more. Despite marriages (Khloe married Lakers star Lamar Odom last year) and babies (Kourtney has an infant), the comedy and drama keep on coming in the fifth season of the series along with more exposure for some of the younger Kardashians and the marriage of patriarchs Kris and Bruce Jenner suddenly being rocked at its core. To find out what is to come with these new episodes, our Jim Halterman chatted with Executive Producer Jeff Jenkins early this week.
Jim Halterman: Why can't viewers get enough of this family?
Jeff Jenkins: I think that they are really generous in sharing everything in their lives with the camera and I think that is why the episodes continue to be strong, not soft, and the viewers keeps coming back. Kourtney and Scott... they have really opened themselves up and shared some really difficult, challenging time with the cameras and that doesn't happen on a lot of shows. We're very lucky that they continue to live their lives really openly on camera.
JH: Let's talk about Kourtney and Scott since their rocky union was a big part of the just-ended "Miami" season. Do we see her having to finally make a choice between her family and Scott on the new "Keeping Up" season?
JJ: You will see the continuation of the challenge [Kourtney and Scott] face trying to make their relationship work somehow. The situation that you saw in Miami... it does cause a lot of tension between the couple and the family. Our heart goes out to Kourtney because she's in this very difficult position where she wants to spend time with her family, she wants to try to make things work in her relationship and those two sides are at odds so she's really caught in the middle. You will see her try to navigate that and try to make all those pieces work and you will see Scott trying to get himself together.
JH: Is it unfair to paint Scott as the villain in all this?
JJ: We all know because of what we've seen on this show that Scott can indulge himself in bad behavior. He's very young and his feelings and his sincere devotion to Kourtney is very real. To answer your question, is he a villain? Everyone has good and bad and he's been leaning towards the bad behavior but you will see that he is really genuinely trying to change. Will he succeed? That's still open for debate.
JH: Once the girls started getting married and having babies were you worried that either show might lose some of its edge and scandalous fun?
JJ: All of us had a momentary beat of thinking "Oh, wow, they're not going to go to nightclubs and they're not going to make out with girls or run around and get arrested for a DUI" but that was a very brief period because as they continue to grow and change and new people come in, we share in all of that with them. Maybe the content of the stories and episodes have changed but it's still their real life and it's equally fascinating if not more fascinating. I mean, Kourtney giving birth on camera? Amazing! Khloe getting married on camera and that gorgeous wedding? Amazing! I'd rather see those stories than seeing them get drunk in a nightclub.
JH: Kris and Bruce have always been the rock of the family but it looks like some drama is coming up between them. What can you tell me?
JJ: Oh, that's such a tender point but you will see some real tension between them for the first time. It puts my stomach in knots as I think it will put the viewers' stomachs in knots because they are the rock of the family. If they divorced, what would happen? Does the whole thing fall apart? The two of them in very different ways keep that family held together. You will see them face some tough challenges on this upcoming season. When the footage started coming in to review I was like "Oh my God! This is frightening!" It's very intense.
JH: Kim is going to be going through some more dating stories this season. How does she deal with her single life this season now that she and Reggie Bush are over?
JJ: Kim is such a very strong, focused woman and when anybody goes through a breakup they have that period of suffering. You'll see her wrestling with that, you'll see her come out of it and you'll see her put herself back into the world and try to see if there's anyone else out there besides Reggie who she can connect with. I have to say that in all of the seasons of the Kardashian shows up to this point Kim has been in a relationship. This is the first season where you see Kim single and Kim will tell you herself that she's a relationship girl and goes from relationship to relationship. You'll see this season she puts that on pause and meets with a variety of young guys. I don't want to spoil the pleasure of the audience but... there is a young man from Australia and he and Kim have such chemistry... it's just an amazing episode. It's an amazing fly-on-the-wall that we really have not seen before. It's really juicy.
JH: Kylie and Kendall are growing up and 14-year-old Kendall recently got some press for some photos that were deemed a little on the racy side. Will we see them more this season?
JJ: You will see more of Kendall and Kylie. This season is really the turning point for them. They are so young and they really have been a little bit more in the background with this series. You have seen some of their lives in some episodes but this is the season where they're old enough now and they really step forward and start sharing their lives on camera, which is really exciting for us as producers. It's the next generation of Kardashians growing up and you will see more of them this season.
JH: Going into season 5, was there any talk about shaking up the format or tone of the show just to keep it fresh?
JJ: We did not make a conscious effort to change the tone or anything. It really is what it is. It's their real lives and we continue to document it. I think when you speak of changes, other than all the changes in their lives we'll see that Kim has bought a mansion in Beverly Hills. Khloe and Lamar have settled into their new mansion and you will see a lot more documentary stories happening in those new locations as the sisters spread their wings and start their own homes.
The fifth season of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" starts this Sunday at 10:00/9:00c on E!