Monday 19 March 2018

Kash on delivery. . . Kim and Kanye's baby is a real bundle of joy

Joe O'Shea

K is for Kim, Kanye, Kris (the ex-husband), Kris (the "momager"), Khloe, Kourtney, Kylie, Kendall and of kourse, Kardashian.

K is also for kazillions, which the Kardashians are set to kollect thanks to what should be the most lucrative pregnancy in showbiz history.

The news that Kim, perhaps the most famous woman on the planet (and isn't that a depressing thought for feminists), is pregnant by American R'n'B singer Kanye West guarantees that 2013 will be all-Kardashian, all of the time.

Resistance is futile. Even if you have never watched any of the many Kardashian reality shows, read the showbiz magazines, followed them online, bought clothes from the Kollection or tried the perfumes, it is impossible to be a sentient human being in the early 21st Century and not have heard the Kardashian name.

Why are they famous? You might as well ask why water is wet and the sky is blue. They just are.

And this pregnancy will get the kind of coverage normally reserved for presidential elections or wars.

Just days after the happy news was confirmed, a small army of camera-men, make-up artists, producers, directors and network executives were already on the march, preparing to chronicle every moment of the Kardashian pregnancy.

The family's main media partner – the E! Entertainment news network – has seen the giant dollar signs lighting up the sky over the Kardashian home in Los Angeles (two further seasons of Keeping Up With The Kardashians were recently commissioned).

"Kim and Kanye are an incredibly dynamic couple, and their baby news is just so exciting," gushed network president Suzanne Kolb this week.

"Like so many Kardashian fans, we love it when this close-knit family gets even bigger. We look forward to sharing the joy as they prepare for more diapers, more bottles and without a doubt, more fabulous baby wear."

The network president's mention of "fabulous baby wear" gives a strong hint as to where some of the money will be made. The Kardashian empire is rumoured to already have a team of designers working on a new collection of baby wear, to be sold through one of the major US chains such as Wal-Mart or Target.

"From the moment that the baby comes out of the womb, it'll be swaddled in its own brand," says Jo Piazza, author of Celebrity, Inc.: How Famous People Make Money.

"Both Kim and Kanye have worked in the fashion space before. It's completely inevitable that they create their own line of baby clothing."

The baby clothing line will only be one part of a much bigger campaign to turn the happy news into a revenue-generating exercise.

The 32-year-old, self-described "socialite, businesswoman, fashion designer, model, actress, TV personality" and her new man, Kanye, will also spend every waking hour together on camera, either via the sanctioned coverage of the E! Network or the many hundreds of video and stills by paparazzi that follow every move made by any Kardashian.

Kris, the formidable Kardashian mom, will remain the family's chief of operations, the hard-headed "momager" who cuts deals for her family.

Their rise has been an extraordinary example of how fame can be won in our celebrity-obsessed age. Kris's first husband, the fearsome Los Angeles defence attorney Robert Kardashian, was a very well-known figure in Hollywood but only came to wider attention when he was hired to defend OJ Simpson in the murder trial of the century in 1995.

Robert died in 2003, five years before his daughter starred in a sex tape with singer Ray J, which led to worldwide notoriety and a reality TV show (starring the entire family) on the E! Channel.

Keeping Up With the Kardashians transformed the clan into celebrity royalty, with mom Kris showing a genius for pushing her brood into the spotlight and keeping them there.

Literally every aspect of their lives, from endless shopping trips to weddings, diets, divorces, childbirth and family holidays is covered to a never-ending background hum of "I love that dress" and "do you think my butt looks big in this?"

Kim has more than 17 million followers on Twitter who are happy to ignore her cavalier approach to the English language (tweet from this week: "Its (sic) so hard to get back in the grove (sic) after New Years! Time to get back to work!")

And it is time to get back to work for Kim and her klan. Now 12 weeks into her pregnancy (which was announced to a concert audience by Kanye West), she will share her happy event with millions of fans around the world.

Whatever the scriptwriters at E! have in mind, those fans can be sure of two things. They will get to share in every single moment. And the baby, whether a boy or a girl, will have a name starting with "K".

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