OJ Simpson Turns 70: How His Trial of the Century Created the Kardashians

Executive producer Brad Simpson tells TheWrap that O.J. was “the beginning of reality TV. It’s not a coincidence the Kardashian name is part of it.”

Getty Images

O.J. Simpson’s trial for the murder of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman was a serious portrait of murder and American racial politics, but it was also the invention of our modern celebrity fixation — the Kardashian family.

When Robert Kardashian delivered a heartbreaking lecture on fame to his awe-struck children at trendy restaurant Chin Chin, it was just days after the Bronco chase.

“Robert Kardashian did take his kids to Chin Chin the Sunday after,” executive producer Brad Simpson told TheWrap in a wide-ranging interview. “This was the beginning of this sort of culture — the beginning of the 24-hour news cycle, the beginning of reality TV. It’s not a coincidence the Kardashian name is part of it.”

Kardashian’s kids soon become consumed by the idea of strangers ogling them.

Brian Bowen Smith/E!
Brian Bowen Smith/E!

“We’re not being opportunistic, but we’re hoping this is a way for younger views to attach into the show. And to understand there was a time before this level of fame didn’t exist for everyone in America. This is a ‘before’ moment,” Simpson said.

We all know the after: In 2007, a sex tape starring Kim Kardashian and a fast friendship with pop heiress Paris Hilton put the family on an unimaginable trajectory toward wealth, fame and media saturation.

After an E! reality show, mobile apps, video games, weight-loss products, countless endorsements and a reported family net worth of over $300 million (Kim herself made $52.5 million in 2015, according to Forbes), the Kardashians are the new mold for modern celebrity fixation.

Robert Kardashian died from cancer in 2003.