The lives of the Kardashian clan keep getting more and more interesting with an upcoming baby (for Kourtney), a newlywed (for Kourtney) and romantic life ups and downs (for Kim). Along with Kris and Bruce Jenner and younger siblings Rob, Kylie and Kendall, the fourth season of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" premieres this Sunday on E! and if fan response to the highly rated wedding special last month between Khloe and LA Laker Lamar Odom is any indication, audiences have no desire to stop keeping up with their favorite E! family. Our Jim Halterman chatted with Executive Producer Jeff Jenkins earlier this week about what expectations are for the new episodes and the lack of love for the father of Kourtney's baby, which will turn into some pretty heavy drama this season.
Jim Halterman: When the show was first being developed, was there any idea that America would embrace the Kardashians as they did?
Jeff Jenkins: No, not at all. When we first were getting to know the family we thought that they were so likeable. They bring what a lot of E! viewers like to see, which is the California glamour but they were also so likeable. I think when we watched them at first and then when audiences started watching them you just wanted to be a part of that family. That's kind of what got us excited way back in season one. They were so delightful and funny. Bruce is funny, Kris is funny, Khloe is funny. Even Kourtney has a dry sense of humor. They're just fun to hang out with every week.
JH: There's such a comedic tone to the show. It's almost like the modern day reality sitcom.
JJ: Exactly. I've heard it called the modern day Cosby Show. It really is! It's like a modern day sitcom and with the advent of YouTube young viewers really want something real and meaty. It's really the melding of two worlds � reality and sitcom.
JH: Before shooting a new season, do you have a plan or is it more like 'Let's see where the Kardashians take us this time?'
JJ: To be honest, it's kind of a blend of both. We are always excited about what's going to happen this season. There are a lot of things this season that just came out of left field. More physical confrontations this season and we've never had anything like that; it just came out of nowhere. But when we are planning the season, there are things on the family agenda that we look forward to incorporating into a season whether it's a photo shoot with Kim or some kind of speaking engagement for Bruce or a family vacation. But, then, there's the whole other side where we have no idea what's coming. I guess we're very lucky because every season there are multiple things coming out of left field and we're just left with our mouths hanging open but we're thrilled and excited when it happens.
JH: What's this about some big boxing match that I saw previewed in the season premiere? It looks pretty crazy.
JJ: As the family members grow and start their own families � like Kourtney having her baby and Khloe off with Lamar (Odom) � Bruce and Kris were feeling a bit of the empty nest so, Bruce especially, wanted to bring the family together to give back to the community but also have fun together as a family. The general public had the opportunity to join an auction where they go against other bidders to get into the ring with a favorite family member. It's pretty crazy. The family, especially the girls, are pretty brave to get in the ring with someone who could punch their lights out!
JH: Kim is in kind of a dark place in the season opener after her very public break-up with Reggie Bush. What is her arc going to be throughout the season?
JJ: I wish we could shoot live so we're minute-to-minute with them but we edit the show and time passes. Viewers will see that the season begins in that period where Kim and Reggie were taking a break. You see where she's pretty depressed about that in the first episode but over the course of the season�I think it's pretty public now that they have gotten back together. When we started the season, they were separated and my heart went out to Kim. It was really a struggle for her to take that break but I'm happy that they seem to have resolved whatever their issues were. It's just fun to have Reggie and Lamar representing two amazing athletic teams in the same series, sometimes in the same house.
JH: There's a big anti-Scott movement where some of the family are very vocal about not being happy with him in their lives but he is the father of Kourtney's baby so he's not going anywhere, right?
JJ: You make a very good point. They're having a child together so this man is going to be connected to this family always and forever in some ways. I enjoy Scott and love Kourtney but I think there is a continuous roller coaster of a relationship and, to answer your question, you see highs and lows in that relationship over the course of the season like you've never seen. It's very, very, very intense. The family does have issues with him and to Scott's credit you'll see him really try to get his act together but you'll also see him fail spectacularly.
JH: Everyone is so comfortable with the cameras around but are there times when they just don't want them around?
JJ: I think that's why this show has done as well as it does. There really is nothing off-limits. The family went into this project thinking 'If we're going to do this, then we're going to do this.' It's pretty much all fair game. They don't have many secrets and they're lives are really out there and they're really used to the cameras. This is season four and we've already shot one season of the Kourtney/Khloe Miami spin-off so they've been living with cameras for a few years now and it's like wallpaper to them. Frankly, the crew is the same crew season after season and they've become part of the Kardashian family, as well and everyone is very comfortable with each other.
JH: Will the Miami spin-off coming back for another season?
JJ: Absolutely. Nothing is official yet but we are hoping that we will be bringing you another season of that Kourtney and Khloe spin-off in some carnation. Some things have changed a bit since we'll have a baby and a married woman but they're excited to do it, Bunim-Murray is excited to do it so I think you'll see it down the line.
JH: I think soon we may just have a Kardashian cable channel devoted entirely to the family.
JJ: I love it! I agree with you!
The fourth season premiere of "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" airs this Sunday at 10:00/9:00c on E!