An executive producer of the E! reality show says the family is shooting around 16 hours of weekly total footage

By Aurelie Corinthios
May 20, 2020 10:09 AM
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When Keeping Up with the Kardashians returns this fall, fans will get a first-hand look at how the famous family handled the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

In an interview with Elle, longtime executive producer Farnaz Farjam confirmed that at least two full episodes of the second half of season 18 will consist entirely of spliced footage shot by the Kardashian-Jenners themselves over the last two months, while they've been hunkered down at home during the pandemic.

According to Farjam, the idea to self-film was suggested by Kris Jenner in March, after the state of California mandated a stay-at-home order. Farjam, who oversees all production from her home in Los Angeles, told the magazine the process has been a "big to-do," but that cast and crew have learned to "make it work."

Keeping Up with the Kardashians
| Credit: Miller Mobley/E! Entertainment

So how exactly do they make it work? After realizing the family needed "proper interview spaces" for confessionals  (the interviews that they film offering commentary on all of the action and drama), Farjam hired a director of photography and a technician, who put on precautionary hazmat suits and configured brightly lit rooms in Kim Kardashian West and Khloé Kardashian's homes.

According to Farjam, phone-friendly tripods were set up and cleaned with sanitary wipes, and the stars waited a full day before entering the rooms to further avoid any potential COVID-19 contamination.

Every Monday, a masked showrunner drops off brand-new iPhones with the family's security teams, and picks up the ones they used the previous week. The family is shooting around 16 hours of total footage weekly, including group Zoom dinners, which is enough for producers to string together story lines.

Naturally, it's "less fly-on-the-wall," Farjam explained.

"If Kris gets annoyed and walks out of the camera angle, it's not like we can follow her and continue shooting. She has to come back onto the screen and explain [why she walked away]," she said. "We have to give them direction and they have to be more informative with us … But because this is the Kardashians and they're entertaining regardless, it will be a fun watch for people."

"Sometimes you'll hear them mumbling under their breath, 'Who knew a camera person's job would be so hard?!'" Farjam added. "But, like, that's funny. That's gold. That's stuff we want to include in the show."

And certain family members are filming more than others. While Kourtney Kardashian, 40, is trying to "detox a little bit from her phone," Kim, 39, has been more candid about life at home with her family.

"I'm really excited for people to see Kim having to juggle everything on her own, especially early on, when it was so, so scary," Farjam said. "Now people have been quarantining for a long time and have trusted people in their lives to help them out, but in the beginning they didn't have that. Watching Kim juggle four kids will be really relatable. No matter how big her house is, four kids is four kids. It's a lot."

And viewers will also get to see Khloé's relationship with her ex Tristan Thompson play out as they co-parent their 2-year-old daughter True at home together.

"Tristan definitely stepped up and helped Khloé a lot with True," Farjam said. "He's totally showing a way more mature side of himself. I think so much more [highly] of him now. Now that I didn't like him before, I just like him so, so much more."

Kim confirmed in March that the family had begun self-filming after shutting down in-person production on season 18.

"It'll be all of us in quarantine filmed separately by ourselves," she told Jimmy Fallon via video chat for an episode of The Tonight Show: At Home Edition. "We have tripods set up, and our iPhones, and the whole last episode will be what we do in quarantine. I'll get to see what Khloé's doing — I mean, I literally have no idea what everyone else has been doing!"

Season 18 of Keeping Up with the Kardashians returns this September on E!