GUY RAZ, HOST:
This past August, the reality star Kim Kardashian married basketball player Kris Humphries. The E! Entertainment Channel broadcast the affair in a two-part special called "Kim's Fairytale Wedding." Eight million viewers tuned in over the course of those two nights to see Kim and Kris testify about their love.
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RAZ: The couple is thought to have made almost $18 million selling rights to photos and videos of the wedding, the after-party, even their honeymoon. Well, yesterday, the fairy tale came to an abrupt end. Kim Kardashian filed for divorce. She cites irreconcilable differences. But with all the endorsement deals, Kardashian still earned an estimated $10,000 an hour for her 72-day marriage. Not bad. So could this be a model for other celebrities looking to cash in quickly? Leslie Bruce is a senior writer for the Hollywood Reporter, and she joins us now from Los Angeles. Welcome to the program.
LESLIE BRUCE: Thank you so much.
RAZ: First of all, should we have a moment of silence?
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BRUCE: I think that would be appropriate, right?
RAZ: Can you explain how this couple earned so many millions of dollars from their wedding?
BRUCE: Well, let's break it down. If you take from the weekly access alone, People magazine reportedly paid about $1.5 million for the photos and exclusive access to the wedding. I believe it was about an 11-page feature in People magazine. They received $100,000 for the bridal shower photos that went to OK! magazine, anywhere between $30,000 and $100,000 for the exclusive honeymoon photos that went to Us Weekly. So there alone, they're making a pretty penny.
RAZ: Up to $18 million, it's thought. How is it that that brand, the Kardashian brand, is now so valuable the family made $65 million in 2010 alone?
BRUCE: I think what's really interesting about the Kardashian family is they're really the pioneers of the reality television, social media, you know, hybrid. I think that Kim Kardashian really came onto the scene right when Twitter was first - when people were first starting to figure out really what Twitter was and really how to monetize it and capitalize on it. Kim Kardashian is nothing, if not a hustler and a hard worker. She really was able to take this fan base that she had, really, you know, create this relationship with them. And people, you know, hate to love, love to hate. They're really invested in her life.
RAZ: Leslie, what do you mean when you say monetize Twitter? How do you do that?
BRUCE: Well, I mean, people can pay for spots on her Twitter page. You know, if you were - and it's also now written into her contract agreements. You know, say, she's got a deal with a Las Vegas nightclub, you know, to have her birthday party at Tao, Las Vegas, it's written into her contracts, you know, that she will tweet at Tao, Las Vegas, in order to have her followers, you know, click on their page, go to their websites, follow that Twitter feed as well. It's direct-action marketing. It goes right to your consumer.
RAZ: Leslie, let me ask you about the business model here because it seems to me like it's an easy revenue stream for celebrities. You know, you sell the rights to your wedding or the pictures of your babies. Clearly, there are outlets willing to pay, so - and we've seen it in the past with Brad and Pitt and Angelina Jolie. They sold photos of their twins. Do you think that this is now a paradigm, it is a model for what celebrities will start to do?
BRUCE: I do. I think, you know, they really created that new celebrity model for moneymaking. There have been people before, too, you know, sell rights to their baby photos, weddings, et cetera. I think that the Kardashians are the pioneers, though. I think that they really created a new mold for reality stars and really almost shown them, too, as moneymakers. You know, in a time where, you know, the economy has turned on its ear, the Kardashians are finding a way to make a lot of money.
RAZ: That's Hollywood Reporter senior writer Leslie Bruce on the business of being a Kardashian. Leslie, thanks so much.
BRUCE: Thanks so much for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.