Robert Kardashian (1944–2003) and Kristen Mary "Kris" Houghton (born 1955) married in 1978, and had four children together: daughters Kourtney (born 1979), Kim (born 1980), and Khloé (born 1984), and son Rob (born 1987). In 1994, Robert rose to prominence when he defended O. Simpson for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman during the O. In 2004, Kim became a personal stylist for recording artist Brandy Norwood.
She eventually developed into a full-time stylist, and was a personal shopper and stylist for actress Lindsay Lohan.
Kris' children Kendall and Kylie from her subsequent marriage to American athlete Bruce (later Caitlyn) Jenner have also been featured on the show since its beginning, along with Jenner's son Brody from another marriage, although he appeared very few times during the early seasons, mostly being called by his step-brother Rob to babysit their half-sisters Kylie and Kendall.
Cast members also include numerous friends and other acquaintances of the family members, most notably Malika Haqq and Jonathan Cheban who joined Keeping Up with the Kardashians in the second and third seasons, respectively.
"These shows are a 30-minute commercial," Khloé Kardashian admitted in 2011, in response to a suggestion that the television series is used to promote their retail stores and endorsement deals.
The reality series revolves around the children of Kris Jenner, and originally focused mainly on the children from her first marriage to deceased attorney Robert Kardashian: Kourtney, Kim, Khloé, and Rob.
Harriet Ryan and Adam Tschorn of the Los Angeles Times described the reality series as a: "Hollywood version of The Brady Bunch -- the harmless high jinks of a loving blended family against a backdrop of wealth and famous connections".
Kim Kardashian described the beginning of filming the show, "When we first started [the show], we came together as a family and said, 'If we're going to do this reality show, we're going to be 100 percent who we really are.'".
described as a "new non-scripted family sitcom", being produced by Ryan Seacrest and Bunim/Murray Productions.
The series debuted on October 14, 2007 and has subsequently become one of the longest-running reality television series in the country.
The fourteenth season premiered on October 1, 2017.
"We were a place to report on celebrity; we weren't a place to break and make celebrity, which is now the whole idea of the E!
brand." The show's success contributed significantly towards building the "Kardashian brand", or "Kardashian Inc." as it is called by The Hollywood Reporter.