Keep up with this: In 2010, the Kardashian family grossed a collective $65 million in 2010 related to their reality shows, endorsements, product lines, public appearance fees and more, an insider confirms to The Hollywood Reporter in a new cover story. (More than Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock and Tom Cruise combined, THR points out.)
At the center of the reality family's staggering fame and financial success? Mom Kris Jenner.
To those taken aback, Jenner's pal Scott Sassa tells THR: "Look at Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg…Two guys that didn't finish college ended up billionaires. Sometimes just raw energy and intelligence wins out."
Khloe Kardashian, 26, tells the mag: "My mother has just always been this 'Let's make water into wine' person…She knows how to take one small talent or ability and grow it into something huge."
Indeed, in 2007, Jenner, 55, was shopping around a new reality series when her daughter Kim Kardashian, now 30, became the unwitting star of a sex tape with then-boyfriend Ray J.
"I thought, 'Oh well, there goes the reality show,'" she said to THR. "But you can either be a problem maker or a problem solver. And I'm a problem solver. My job as her mom and manager is to take care of the problem — whatever it is. I had to cry and get upset in the privacy of my own room and then come out and help her, because she's my daughter. What good is it for me to berate her?…All I knew was that I had to make some lemonade out of these lemons fast. Real fast."
She added: "My job was trying to take my kids' 15 minutes and turn it into 30."
E! programming executive Lisa Berger says they almost passed on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, but was convinced otherwise by Ryan Seacrest. "It has changed the face of E!" she told THR.
Jenner explained the family's approach to their various reality shows: "Not only do we not have filters running through our brains, we don't edit ourselves…The scene where [Kourtney's boyfriend] Scott [Disick] is shoving money down the waiter's throat, that was hard to watch. But I said: 'Leave it alone. Just show it. It'll be fine.' I've said that every single time. And it's served me well from a business point of view."
Admitted Khloe: "These shows are a 30-minute commercial."
Among the family's expansion plans this year: Kardashian Khaos, a "celebrity destination store" at Las Vegas' Mirage hotel that shills every Kardashian-endorsed product available. (Kardashian images will also be stamped on hotel keys, bottled water in the rooms and on slot machines.)
One offer Kris Jenner turned down? A sex toy company that wanted to sign Khloe and her husband Lamar Odom with a line of "vibrating panties, nipple rings and vibrators." Says Jenner: "I was like 'Hell to the no!'"
These days, Kim reportedly charges as much as $25,000 to mention a brand in a tweet — and most family members include a "Twitter clause" in their contracts.
One talent wrangler tells THR that Kim can charge up to $100,000 to $250,000 to appear at an event — and even $1 million abroad.
Jenner isn't shy about how long she'd like to sustain her brood's success. "My fantasy is to have Keeping Up With Kardashians, Season 26…Who knew it would be this profitable? I should have had more kids."
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