Kylie Jenner's Pregnancy Announcement Marks A Shift In The Kardashians' Attempts To Control Their Narrative Without "KUWTK"
This news marks the first major Kardashian/Jenner life event since Keeping Up With the Kardashians ended and signals a shift in how the family will navigate their breaking news and public image without it.
The beauty mogul and reality star confirmed the news with an adorable video on Instagram showing her telling various family members, including Travis Scott, Kris Jenner, and of course her daughter Stormi.
And while the news is exciting for Kylie, this announcement marks the first major Kardashian/Jenner life event since Keeping Up With the Kardashiansended back in June — and with it gone, a new era has begun for the family where the show no longer functions as their primary vehicle for breaking news and controlling their narrative.
Rumors of a pregnancy began to swirl a week before the first KUWTK spinoff, Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami, was due to air, and they quickly picked up steam due to the fact that Kourtney was publicly single at the time.
Kris Jenner released a statement four days prior to the season premiere telling fans that while she wouldn't comment on the validity of the reports, they should "tune in" to find out the truth — and the identity of the father.
Sure enough, a teaser trailer during the first episode confirmed that Kourtney was indeed expecting a baby with Scott Disick before the season unfolded to record-breaking ratings.
This marked a turning point in Kardashian history — for the first time since its launch in 2007, a KUWTK storyline had fully transcended the show. Kourtney’s pregnancy dominated headlines for the entirety of gestation and beyond, with her securing magazine deals, endorsements, and photo shoots worth over $300,000.
This method of stoking media interest ahead of a grand KUWTK reveal to maximize ratings and the life cycle of every story became the blueprint for each subsequent Kardashian pregnancy.
Kim announced her first pregnancy after months of public speculation and excitement during the spinoff Kourtney and Kim Take Miami before confirming her second — as well as the pregnancies of her surrogates with babies three and four — on KUWTK.
The confirmation of Kourtney's third pregnancy was used as the main hook for season 9 of KUWTK, where she was seen announcing the news to a disappointed Scott Disick.
But KUWTK also allowed the family the chance to communicate key narrative details — and offer important context — after each grand reveal that would have been impossible to do to such lengths elsewhere.
This was perhaps most evident in the case of the Kardashians managing to regain control amid mounting public backlash after Kim announced her divorce from Kris Humphries back in 2011.
Within a month of the news breaking, the family aired six hours of carefully curated footage in a spinoff season charting the demise of the marriage, portraying Kris as bullish and insensitive while redeeming Kim in the eyes of the public.
By the finale, ratings had skyrocketed, with viewers siding with Kim and becoming more invested in the family than ever — in fact, the following year was their most lucrative yet.
This level of access into the lives of A-listers — and the control they had over what was shown and when — was unprecedented, and arguably the reason for the Kardashians' ubiquity and continued pop culture dominance.
But with the show now defunct, Kylie’s announcement gives us an insight into what we can come to expect in a world without KUWTK — huge life events announced, or controversy mitigated, with simple Instagram posts including self-shot footage and carefully selected emojis that are a million miles from the huge production and PR rollouts we’re used to.
And while it may ostensibly offer them freedom — the ability to share their own news on their own platforms in their own time — it remains to be seen how much authority over public and media perception the family have without KUWTK helping them shape and maximize interest in each story.