If there’s one thing we can rely on in this cruel, uncertain world, it’s that Kris Jenner has a plan. To call the Kardashian momager “business savvy” is an understatement—when it comes to PR stunts, she’s an absolute marionette-level mastermind. We’ve all been there: shrieking over the news that Tristan Thompson kissed Jordyn Woods at a party, then catching our breath to muse, Wait, the timing of this is suspect. Could it possibly be…fake? A quick scroll through Twitter reveals that loads of fans and haters alike are confident that some major Kardashian drama has been orchestrated (or at least spun) to drive viewers directly to Keeping Up With the Kardashians and/or The Kardashians. So we decided to gather up all the receipts and arrange them in a comprehensive, entirely convincing timeline.
But please note: Even though KUWTK started way back in 2007, aka the dawn of time, the shrewdness of the Kardashian Press Machine is a relatively new phenomenon, relying partly on social media and the popularity of conspiracy theories that proliferate across Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram. (Insta launched only in 2010—wild, right?) Anyway, viewing this GIF is mandatory before we begin:
Kylie’s Lips: Season 10
Kylie’s lip fillers reveal was one of the most flawlessly handled PR moments Kris Jenner has ever given us. Not only did she use Kylie’s lips to promote KUWTK, but she also helped leverage the moment into a billion-dollar business.
Kylie’s look begins to change, and the internet inevitably starts obsessing over whether or not she’s had lip fillers.
April 10, 2015
Kylie vehemently denies getting lip fillers, which makes the internet even more convinced she has them. In a since-deleted tweet, she says, “These plastic surgery rumours hurt my feelings, to be honest, and are kinda insulting. Just in case anyone forgot…I’m 16.”
April 21, 2015
The #KylieJennerLipChallenge becomes a thing, causing multiple people to injure themselves in an attempt to look more like Kylie. She eventually releases a statement, which builds up even more interest in this whole ~LIP SAGA~.
May 6, 2015
Clips from an upcoming episode that features Kylie admitting to getting lip fillers started doing the rounds:
May 10, 2015
KUWTK airs Kylie’s lip fillers episode to a whopping 2.09 million viewers. Huh!
November 30, 2015
Kylie launches Kylie Cosmetics (then known as 'Kylie Lip Kits'). It sells out almost immediately. Then it’s restocked and it sells out again. And now? Now she’s a billionaire.
Kim Exposes Taylor Swift: Season 12
Keeping Up With the Kardashians was in its 12th season right when Kanye West and Taylor Swift were beefing over the music video/lyrics for his song “Famous,” which dropped on July 1. But did the Kardashians intentionally time the drama to drive tune-in to their show? Let’s take a look.
July 17, 2016
Kim Kardashian hits Twitter on Sunday night (aka KUWTK night) and encourages her fans to follow her on Snapchat.
Keeping Up With the Kardashians airs, and Kim spends the entire episode slamming Taylor:
Kim releases Kanye’s private conversation with Taylor via Snapchat:
Later That Night
Tay then hits Instagram to post her infamous Notes app plea:
Khloé’s and Kylie’s Pregnancies: Season 14
In one of the deftest moves of all time, the Kardashians managed to use “leaked news” of Khloé’s and Kylie’s pregnancies to drive viewers to both KUWTK and their 10th anniversary special. Genius.
September 22, 2017
TMZ drops the news that Kylie Jenner is pregnant with Travis Scott’s baby just TWO DAYS before the Keeping Up With the Kardashians 10th anniversary special. What a coincidence!
September 24, 2017
KUWTK airs its 10th anniversary special and obviously, everyone thinks Kylie might confirm her pregnancy on air. She doesn’t. But we all watch anyway.
September 26, 2017
TMZ then breaks the news that Khloé Kardashian is pregnant with Tristan Thompson’s baby.
October 1, 2017
KUWTK premieres season 14. Meaning that KoKo’s pregnancy was leaked just days before the premiere. Kris is truly working overtime!
Tristan Thompson’s First Cheating Scandal: Season 15
Tristan Thompson cheating on Khloé Kardashian clearly wasn’t a PR stunt. Buuuuut that doesn’t mean the Kardashians/E! didn’t do their best to time what they could control….
April 10, 2018
News breaks that Tristan cheated on Khloé just a few weeks before she was due to give birth.
April 11, 2018
TMZ publishes footage from October of Tristan cheating—and this is when people start becoming suspicious. Why would TMZ publish this video almost a full six months later? Fans/conspiracy theorists speculate that it’s because KUWTK was filming at the time and E! wanted a juicy season.
November 2, 2018
E! airs a clip of the Kardashians finding out about Tristan’s cheating scandal. And they all just happened to be on camera at that exact time.
November 4, 2018
The cheating scandal hits KUWTK toward the end of season 15. Viewership soars back up to more than 1 million for all the episodes devoted to this drama, and Khloé drives interest in the show by tweeting about it:
The Kardashian Sister Feud: Season 15 Premiere
The Kardashian sisters got into a totally genuine and not-at-all-staged fight *right* before the premiere of season 15. E! heavily promoted the feud, and the sisters even hopped on Twitter to fight IRL during the show, which only increased the number of interested eyeballs.
August 1, 2018
E! releases truly next-level footage of Kim calling Kourtney “uninteresting.” This clip alone gets more than seven million views and remains iconic.
August 5, 2018
With the promise of sibling drama, KUWTK premieres to 1.36 million viewers—up from season 14’s 1.29 million finale. That night, Kim, Khloé, and Kourtney conveniently take their feud to Twitter and bicker for the world to see:
The Jordyn Woods Scandal: Season 16
Jordyn Woods and Tristan Thompson’s cheating scandal seemed pretty legit, but some fans still thought a PR spin was happening under our noses. Let’s analyse, shall we?
December 12, 2018
It’s revealed that KUWTK’s ratings plummeted—not even a million people tuned in for the season 15 finale. SOMETHING! MUST! BE! DONE!
February 19, 2019
News of the Jordyn-Tristan cheating scandal breaks—just a few weeks shy of the KUWTK premiere. And, um, the Kardashians happen to be filming at the time.
February 22, 2019
Kylie Jenner’s “Jordy” lip kit conveniently goes on sale and sells out.
February 28, 2019
E! chooses this moment to release a thirsty-AF trailer for KUWTK that leans right into the cheating drama.
March 1, 2019
Jordyn Woods is asked by a fan during Red Table Talk if this ~whole thing~ is a giant PR stunt to promote KUWTK. She says, “I wish I could say this was a publicity stunt, but this is my real life. Real people are hurting. It’s been real. It’s been real.”
March 31, 2019
KUWTK premieres season 16 on E!. Viewership? It’s high.
Kourtney and Addison Rae’s Friendship
Kourtney Kardashian randomly (sorry, “randomly”) formed a friendship with Addison Rae, which some fans decided was a clear PR relationship manufactured to get a younger audience to watch KUWTK while also promoting Addison’s music. The evidence?
March 9, 2020
Addison makes her first Kardashian-adjacent appearance, teaching Mason how to dance on TikTok:
March 18, 2021
Amid her friendship with the Kardashians, Addison releases her single “Obsessed.”
March 26, 2021
Not even a week after Addison drops her single, KUWTK drops its season 19 premiere. The viewership? Just over 1 million. Truly, this is some next-level cross-promotion.
Kim and Pete Davidson’s Relationship
Pete and Kim got together in October 2021, and fans were convinced they were a PR stunt due to the Kardashians filming their debut season with Hulu at the same time. Kim and Pete were obviously real (and lasted nine full months), but did Hulu use the ’ship to its advantage? Let’s see.
October 30, 2021
Kim and Pete are seen holding hands at Knott’s Scary Farm and Twitter is, obviously, not okay.
November 4, 2021
The internet collectively decides this relationship is so random that it can only be a PR stunt. We also know for a fact that the Kardashians were filming their new Hulu show during this exact period because Scott Disick was spotted with cameras.
While Pete wasn’t in the show’s first season, the anticipation of him potentially making an appearance (due to dating Kim during filming) definitely drove viewers to the show every week. Seems somewhat PR-ish, but the beginning of their relationship has nothing on how it ended.
Pete and Kim's Breakup
Buckle up because this sequence of events is truly wild. TL;DR: Pete and Kim broke up right after Hulu started promoting The Kardashians season 2 and on the same night that Khloé’s second baby was announced. Here’s how it went down.
July 11, 2022
Hulu releases the trailer for season 2, which includes Pete dropping everything to join Kim in the shower:
July 20, 2022
Kim visits Pete in Australia, and by all accounts, they had a great trip and barely left their hotel room.
August 1, 2022
We enter the first week of August and a huge press push for Kim and Pete’s relationship. Like, sources suddenly cannot stop talking about how in love they are, with one telling E! News, “The distance hasn’t been an issue for Kim and Pete’s relationship while he’s been away filming. They are still going strong and making it work. When they are apart, they are in constant communication.”
August 3, 2022
Another source goes out of their way to tell US Weekly that “Kim and Pete are in constant communication” and “they send each other love notes while the other is sleeping and FaceTime whenever their schedules link up.”
August 5, 2022
Literally, TWO DAYS after sources can’t stop gushing about Kim and Pete, E! News reports they are over. Interestingly, the news breaks at the end of the day on a Friday—which is typically when celebs announce breakups they *don’t* want to cover a ton in the media. Notably, though, Kim’s rep doesn’t confirm Pete and Kim’s breakup at first—the news comes from “sources close to the couple.”
But then? Mere hours later, news breaks that Khloé and Tristan have welcomed their second child via surrogate. Interestingly, the Kardashians’ rep did release a statement about this news, saying, “Khloé is incredibly grateful to the extraordinary surrogate for such a beautiful blessing. We’d like to ask for kindness and privacy so that Khloé can focus on her family.”
While it’s possible the Kardashians announced Khloé’s baby news to take the focus off Kim and Pete, the more popular theory is that they specifically announced Khloé’s news after so that she wouldn’t get too much unwanted attention.
That’s all for now, but we’ll be updating this as Kris comes up with more genius ideas!