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The Real Reason The Kardashians Got A TV Show? 'Bruce Jenner Was The Big Thing,' Says New Book

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Jan. 7 2021, Updated 10:04 p.m. ET

Kim Kardashian’s ground-breaking and explosive sex tape, long credited as the reason the family bagged their own television series, had nothing to do with getting their show on air, according to a tell-all new unauthorized biography of Kris Jenner.

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The myth that Kim’s between-the-sheets exploits with her ex, rapper Ray J, helped launch the family into the celebrity stratosphere is busted in Dirty Sexy Money: The Unauthorized Biography of Kris Jenner, which reveals that series makers were more interested in Bruce Jenner [Caitlyn Jenner] than Kim’s sex! 

Celebrity biographer Cathy Griffin and investigative journalist Dylan Howard use first person testimony, insider sources and in-depth research to expose the true story of how Kris, 65, created modern history’s most influential celebrity dynasty and disclose the facts of how Keeping Up With the Kardashians became a global hit. 

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As the book explains: "For years the traditional party line for explaining the Kardashians’ rise to power has been that wildly ambitious Kris Jenner was desperate for fame and birthed a television show on the back of her daughter’s porno flick.

"The reality, however, is that the real draw initially for programmer makers was Bruce Jenner. Without him to hook in the television bigwigs, Kris and her daughters would have been unlikely to get a second look. The sex tape had nothing to do with it."

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In the book, published nationwide on January 5, the Hollywood sleuths probe the people behind the decision to commission the show.

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Ryan Seacrest, the E! network, and Bunim/Murray Productions are commonly associated with the development and execution of the series. 

But it was Seacrest’s agent, the late John Ferriter, and producing partner, Eliot Goldberg, who were instrumental in getting the project off the ground, the book reveals.

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The team was looking for an L.A.-based family like the Osbournes who could provide a similar level of crazy drama — but had failed to find any candidates. 

Goldberg approached talent executive, Deena Katz, for help, it is revealed in Dirty Sexy Money: The Unauthorized Biography of Kris Jenner, a book that for the first time constructs how one of the most famous and ubiquitous family dynasties in contemporary culture was created.

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Katz knew Bruce and Kris as she’d booked on a show Bruce, a former gold medalist Olympian, and she saw how the family created natural drama when they were together. But at the time, Kris and her kids – Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, Rob, Kendall and Kylie — were largely unknown, so Katz concentrated on Bruce’s name when she suggested the idea to Goldberg.

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"Bruce Jenner was the big thing," Goldberg later recalled. "He was the Olympic athlete. The Kardashians were known because of O.J. Simpson. The Kardashian sisters had been making the rounds about the store, so they were on E!’s radar. There was a little bubbling about the [sex] tape, but ... nobody really knew who Kim Kardashian was."

Bruce, who publicly came out as a transgender woman in 2015, taking the name Caitlyn, proved a significant enough of a draw to get the family during a meeting with E! execs where Kris, Bruce, Kim, Kourtney, and Khloé told producers about their vision for the show. 

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 Kris explained it would be a "blow-by-blow look at our crazy, loving, fun, and incredibly close family," according to Dirty Sexy Money: The Unauthorized Biography of Kris Jenner

Of the meeting Goldberg recalls: "Within five minutes, I watched a show performed in front of my eyes. It was the yelling, the bitching. I’d never seen anything like it in my life! I was like—is this real? This is insane! This is how they talk to each other? Bruce was sitting in the corner, shaking his head."

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E!’s vice president of programming at the time, Lisa Berger, was initially reluctant however, and recalls exclaiming: "Honest to God, I’m not sure if there’s a show there."

Her opinion changed when she met the family and witnessed the mayhem between them.

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The series got the green light from E! for four episodes and debuted on October 14, 2007. 

But not everyone was happy with the sudden rise to fame. Kourtney and Bruce had their reservations — Kourtney was embarking on a serious relationship with her new boyfriend, Scott Disick, and wasn’t sure she wanted cameras invading their privacy. 

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Indeed, Caitlyn later revealed that she was pressured by Kris, 65, to participate.

Ferriter agreed that the sex tape was of little significance to making the show happen. 

"It was of zero importance to getting the show on the air," he told the authors. "How the video was utilized after the fact, I have no idea."

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Undoubtedly however, the tape did help with the narrative and the publicity drive for the first season of the new show, during which Kim, now a 40-year-old mom of four, also posed nude for Playboy with her mother in attendance. During the same time, Khloé got arrested for a DUI, and ten-year-old Kylie was filmed slithering up and down on a stripper pole.

The authors concluded: "Goldberg and Ferriter are credible sources who can put the infamous Kim Kardashian sex tape in perspective. The re-creation of events from their viewpoint is credible and compelling."

Dirty Sexy Money: The Unauthorized Biography of Kris Jenner shot to the top of the Amazon charts even prior to its release to become a number one best-seller biography. 

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