NEW YORK (AP) - Kim Kardashian’s lightning-quick marriage shouldn’t have any impact on the E! Entertainment network’s relationship with the reality TV family despite some shuffling this week, E!’s chief said on Wednesday.
E! moved up, and then moved back, a rerun of Kardashian’s lavish wedding to pro basketball player Kris Humphries after Kardashian announced this week that the marriage was kaput. The network, feeling its reputation sullied, put out a statement calling rumors that it had orchestrated the wedding for TV to be “completely false.”
“I don’t even know if Kim has had a chance to emotionally process this the way that she needs to,” said Suzanne Kolb, president of E! Entertainment. “I don’t have any indication that this is going to change her career path.”
Kardashian’s wedding to Humphries, televised on E! to huge ratings last month, was the highlight of the 72-day marriage. The wedding took place on Aug. 20; it was televised Oct. 9 and 10. The first day scored the highest ratings in E!’s history.
Before the marriage went sour, E! had planned to rerun the wedding in prime time Wednesday and Thursday this week. With Kardashian’s announcement, E! moved the first part up to Monday and was set to run part two on Tuesday. Then, showing some uncertainty about whether that appeared insensitive, E! moved part two to Thursday at 5 p.m. An onscreen announcement at the show’s beginning on Thursday will tell viewers about the divorce announcement.
Asked why E! was rerunning a wedding from a broken marriage, Kolb said, “We are a topical network and this is a topic at the moment.” When it first aired, both parts of “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event” attracted more than 4 million viewers _ big numbers for a cable network.
Kardashian announced the divorce on her website, and some of the nearly 3,000 comments posted there Wednesday questioned whether the wedding was a hoax and all for show.
“I am trying not to read all the different media reports but it’s hard not to see all the negative ones,” Kardashian wrote on her website. “First and foremost, I married for love. I can’t believe I even have to defend this. I would not have spent so much time on something just for a TV show.”
In an interview on Australian television this week, Kardashian said “intuition” led her to end her marriage.
“I think when you know so deep in your heart that you just have to listen to your intuition, and follow your heart,” Kardashian said. “There’s no right or wrong thing to do.”
Kardashian is in Australia with her sister Khloe to promote a line of handbags.
Kolb said she felt the network’s statement about comments questioning the marriage’s legitimacy was necessary because E!, the show’s producers and the Kardashians were being unfairly treated. “At some point I felt we had to come out and say that was absurd,” she said.
With a television family such as the Kardashians, “I don’t know if the distinction between reality and contrivance means anything anymore,” said Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University.
E! executives may have to tread a little carefully around the controversy, but it also has the potential of being a gold mine, he said. Think of the alternative: In television drama, there’s no bigger story-killer than a couple getting married and living happily ever after.
“Chevy manufactures cars out of their assembly line,” he said. “The Kardashians manufacture stories like these. This is what they do. This is their product.”