Posts tagged with "20 years"

Kould it be true? ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ is ending after 20 seasons

September 11, 2020

After a 20-season, 14-year run marked by marriages, divorces, births, deaths, affairs, plastic surgeries, gender-change surgery, world travel; and selfies of every variety, as well as tears and laughs, Keeping Up With the Kardashians announced on September 7 that the TV show’s last season on the E! Network is scheduled to start in early 2021.

 “It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians,’ ” the network said in a statement in conjunction with Kris Jenner, the Kardashian siblings (Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, and Rob), the Jenner sisters (Kylie and Kendall); and, naturally, Scott Disick. “We are beyond grateful to all of you who’ve watched us for all of these years — through the good times, the bad times, the happiness, the tears, and the many relationships and children. We’ll forever cherish the wonderful memories and countless people we’ve met along the way.”

The family thanked E!, the production team at Bunim/Murray; and Ryan Seacrest, who has been an executive producer on the show since the beginning.

E! released an official statement to Variety, regarding the ending of the monumental show that helped define the network as a destination beyond entertainment news.“E! has been the home and extended family to the Kardashian-Jenners for what will be 14 years, featuring the lives of this empowering family,” the network’s statement reads. “Along with all of you, we have enjoyed following the intimate moments the family so bravely shared by letting us into their daily lives. While it has been an absolute privilege and we will miss them wholeheartedly, we respect the family’s decision to live their lives without our cameras.”

“KUWTK” has been a massive hit globally for the network, which airs repeats of the franchise constantly — and pays a pretty penny for those rights. In 2017, E! inked a mega-deal with the family for a three-year extension, taking the show through 2020, valued at nine figures. At the time, insiders told Variety that the renewal deal was worth “below $100 million,” although other reports stated that the deal was worth up to $150 million.

The show turned the Kardashian-Jenner family into international superstars—with a multimedia empire complete with clothing lines, cosmetics companies, apps and never-ending tabloid interest in their every move. When the show debuted, Kris Jenner, now known as one of the savviest businesswomen in the industry, was known to the public as the ex-wife of O.J. Simpson attorney Robert Kardashian. Her former spouse, Olympian [Bruce] Caitlyn Jenner also ended up starring in her own E! spinoff, “I Am Cait, which documented her transition into a transgender woman.

According to Variety, when the show hit the air, the family was best known for Kim Kardashian-West’s sex tape, which brought worldwide attention to the socialite—whom previously had been Paris Hilton’s sidekick. Today, Kardashian-West is one of the most recognizable faces on the planet, and has taken her power to the White House with her passion for criminal justice reform. Meanwhile, Kendall and Kylie Jenner were just kids when the show first started airing, and now are two of the most powerful—and lucrative—influencers in the world.

At the time of the series’ 10-year anniversary in 2017, Kris Jenner spoke to Variety about the show’s milestones and futures. In that interview, she spoke about when the time might come to end the show, saying, “I used to just joke and say it’ll be when Kylie gets married in 20 years, and here we are 10 years later. Who thought a decade later we would still be going as strong as we are?”

The famous family members posted about the show ending on their social media accounts, which reach hundreds of millions of fans.

Kardashian-West posted to her 188 million followers: “Without ‘Keeping Up with The Kardashians,’ I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am so incredibly grateful to everyone who has watched and supported me and my family these past 14 incredible years,” she wrote. “This show made us who we are and I will be forever in debt to everyone who played a role in shaping our careers and changing our lives forever.”

Research contact: @Variety

Steve Bannon charged with defrauding donors of ‘We Build the Wall’ campaign

August 21, 2020

Steve Bannon—the architect of the Trump campaign’s 2016 win and #45’s former chief strategist in the White House—has been arrested along with three others and charged with defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors who contributed to a fundraising campaign for a private border wall, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced on August 20, according to a report by The Hill.

Bannon, Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea allegedly defrauded donors to the online crowdfunding campaign known as We Build the Wall, which raised more than $25 million. The four defendants were expected to appear in court Thursday afternoon.

Bannon is just the latest member of the president’s inner circle to face criminal charges:

  • Former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his communications with a Russian diplomat. He has since backed out of a plea agreement, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking to withdraw its case against him.
  • Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, is serving more than seven years in prison on an array of bank and tax fraud charges.
  • And Trump commuted the three-year-and-four-months prison sentence of his former adviser Roger Stonein July, just days before Stone was scheduled to report to a federal corrections facility.

In a formal press release from the SDNY, Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “[Starting in approximately December 2018] …as alleged, the defendants defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction. 

She added, “While repeatedly assuring donors that Brian Kolfage, the founder and public face of We Build the Wall, would not be paid a cent, the defendants secretly schemed to pass hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage, which he used to fund his lavish lifestyle.  We thank the USPIS for their partnership in investigating this case, and we remain dedicated to rooting out and prosecuting fraud wherever we find it.”

According to The Hill’s report, the four men are facing charges including one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Each charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

The indictment suggests that federal prosecutors in New York were investigating the organization as early as last October, while Geoffrey Berman was the office’s U.S. attorney. The Trump administration forced Berman out of his position in June in a high-profile spat during which the prosecutor initially refused to resign.

When asked for comment by a pool reporter on Thursday, a White House spokesperson said, “I refer you to DOJ; this is not a White House matter.”

We Build the Wall did not immediately respond to a message from The Hill seeking comment.

Kolfage launched We Build the Wall on GoFundMe in late 2018—quickly raising more than $20 million, before the site threatened to remove his page unless he identified a valid recipient of the funds.

Based on the indictment, Kolfage, Bannon and Badolato then formed a nonprofit called “We Build the Wall, Inc.” to receive the GoFundMe money.

Despite Kolfage’s promises that he wouldn’t be taking a salary, federal prosecutors alleged that the group of defendants schemed to pass along hundreds of thousands of dollars to him to help “fund his lavish lifestyle.”

Kolfage allegedly took a total of $350,000 from the organization, passed through a series of bank accounts, nonprofits and bank accounts between January and October of 2019.

One nonprofit controlled by Bannon received more than a million dollars,  The Hill says—some of which he passed on to Kolfage, while taking a “substantial portion” for personal gain.

In October, prosecutors allege, the defendants realized they might be under criminal investigation, halted their secret payment scheme and amended the organization’s website to note that Kolfage would be paid a salary beginning this January.

Research contact: @thehill