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Kourtney Kardashian’s Shocking First Pregnancy Is The Reason “KUWTK” Lasted As Long As It Did

The pregnancy marked the transition of the entire Kardashian family from low-level reality TV stars into bona-fide tabloid fodder.

Posted on April 2, 2021, at 1:00 a.m. ET

This is an excerpt from Kim, There’s People That Are Watching, BuzzFeed News’ brand-new newsletter dedicated to the 20th and final season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. You can sign up here.

Make sure you check your inbox after signing up — you’ll receive an email asking you to confirm your sign-up in order to receive the newsletters.

You may have heard that Keeping Up With the Kardashians is coming to an end after 14 years and 20 seasons. Last night, the third episode of the final season aired. Here’s what unfolded...

Over the last 14 years, the Kardashians have dominated pop culture and built a brand worth $2 billion, but many of their biggest career successes stemmed from scandal.

Todd Williamson / NBCU Photo Bank / NBCUniversal via

Each week, we take a look back at how the family’s most ~kontroversial~ moments have defined their lives and their empire. This week, we’re looking at how Kourtney’s shocking first pregnancy changed KUWTK forever...

Gregg Deguire / FilmMagic

“How’s it looking?” Scott asked Kourtney as he entered a Miami hotel bathroom, the KUWTK cameras panning to six pregnancy tests lined neatly beside the sink. “These are all positives,” Kourtney replied.


Staring at the tests, Scott asked, “How many are you going to take until you realize there’s a pretty good chance you’re pregnant?”


Kourtney’s first pregnancy was transformative for her and Scott, and it also marked the transition of the entire Kardashian family from low-level reality TV stars into bona-fide tabloid fodder.

Jason Merritt / Getty Images

The pregnancy became the first instance of the family exploiting the most shocking, intimate details of their personal lives for both ratings and financial gain, and formed the blueprint for leveraging controversy that’s defined their brand ever since.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

The storyline came as a shock, mainly because Kourtney was publicly single at the time, the pregnancy the result of a one-night stand with a “mystery man.”

Gregg Deguire / FilmMagic

This detail was exploited by Kris Jenner, who announced the pregnancy four days before a brand new KUWTK spinoff was due to air, telling fans they’d have to “tune in to find out” the father’s identity.

This led to mass excitement around the new season, allowing the family to stoke headlines before saving the grand reveal for the show — a strategy they’ve employed repeatedly ever since.

Overnight, the family’s personal narratives were transcending the show and countless business opportunities emerged.

Life and Style

Recognizing the storyline’s potential to dominate the headlines for nine months of gestation and beyond, Kris Jenner seized on the public’s interest, securing magazine exclusives, endorsement deals, and photo shoots for Kourtney and Scott worth $300,000.

But the pregnancy also breathed new life into KUWTK itself. In the months before Kourtney discovered she was pregnant, Kris was growing increasingly concerned over the show becoming “stale.”

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

The pregnancy, however, not only supplied endless plot points but also transformed the tone of KUWTK forever. Gone were the days of bawdy hijinks and contrived storylines resolved within 20 minutes.


Viewers were now witnessing increasingly dramatic scenes spanning multiple episodes as Kourtney’s pregnancy progressed. We saw her clashing with Kim and Khloé, fighting with Kris Jenner, and dealing with Scott’s alcohol abuse.

And things reached a crescendo during a disastrous trip to Vegas, where an intoxicated Scott shoved a $100 bill into the mouth of a waiter, leading to an extended special episode where Kourtney ended the relationship.


The messiness of real life was now at the forefront, and there was no going back — Season 4 secured the highest ratings in E!’s programming history and cemented the Kardashian brand.


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A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.