E! is no longer in business with the Kardashians, but the network is still leaning on the family as it launches its latest show.
In an overtly self-aware moment, E! is readying to debut a new reality show about comedian Nikki Glaser, and in the promotion for her upcoming series, the network is in on the joke, giving a wink and a nod to the lucrative family franchise that they aired for 15 years.
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“Keeping up is so last year.”
“We swapped 5 brunettes for one blonde (it was cheaper).”
Those are just some of the taglines E! is using to promote Glaser’s new show, titled “Welcome Home Nikki Glaser?,” which premieres on May 1.
Essentially, E! is that they’re no longer home to “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” (the family now has a new show on Hulu), and Glaser is leaning into her brand of self-deprecating and carefree comedy.
“Welcome Home Nikki Glaser?” will follow the stand-up comic as she uproots her fast-paced Hollywood lifestyle to move back home to her small-town in St. Louis, going on a journey of self discovery, while hilariously showing her parents, childhood friends and even her ex-boyfriend.
“St. Louis is the new Calabasas” is another tagline being used to comically promote Glaser’s new show. Another slogan is, “We found the most famous family… in St. Louis.”
When asked if her family might just be the new Kardashians, Glaser tells Variety“I sure as hell hope so!”
“Not only would I like my younger sister to become a ‘self-made’ billionaire,” Glaser quips, adding, “I also want my family to follow in the Kardashians’ footsteps and just fully embrace who they are, unapologetically. Call the Kardashians fake all you want, but the painful and embarrassing moments they have shared on their show are the kinds of things most families hide for generations. Being the subject of a reality show takes bravery and I’m proud of my family for taking this risk with me and I hope it doesn’t destroy us.”
E! has done full-court press around Glaser’s new show, and the tongue-in-cheek Kardashian campaign (or shall we say, kampaign?) is just one piece of the launch, which began this week on social media and will ramp up next week with billboards on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles. The network also had Glaser co-host E!’s “Daily Pop” and “Nightly Pop,” plus serve as a guest panelist on “E!’s Countdown to the Red Carpet” at the Grammys. With cross-promotional NBCUniversal synergy, Glaser’s show is also being teased with custom promos on sister networks Bravo and USA Network, tapping into the fanbases of “Real Housewives,” “Temptation Island” and even “Saturday Night Live.” To top it off, the network has arranged for an official “Nikki Glaser Day” with the tourism board in her hometown of St. Louis, who will see her throwing out the first pitch at the Cardinals game at the end of this month to celebrate the city where her new series was filmed.
E!’s marketing team worked hand-in-hand with Glaser on the campaign to ensure the materials were authentic to her comedic voice.
“Nikki is known for stand-up comedy, but she’s new to this series format, so the idea was to lean into what a comedian like Nikki would actually think or say about the reality TV world,” says Samantha Bloom, senior VP of brand marketing at NBCUniversal, who believes Glaser’s persona will resonate with E! viewers. “Comedy does really well with our audiences and this show definitely delivers on being funny. That said, what will really resonate with our viewers is the relatability of Nikki and her life in St. Louis. … Every episode is like a really fun hang with your best friend.”
With E! in a time of transition, no longer leaning on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” which helped define the cabler for so long, the network believes Glaser’s show is the right fit for its slate for a multitude of reasons — one being that she is a star on the rise. (For what it’s worth, E! did turn the Kardashian-Jenners into world-renowned celebrities, who became TV stars at the network in 2007, before they parlayed their reality show into a full-fledged empire.)
“E! is about celebrating pop culture fandom and Nikki’s star is continuing to rise in the entertainment world,” Bloom says. “Nikki also fits right in with the other personalities on E!, who feel like friends and bring a dose of laughter and unapologetic perspective. E! has always brought audiences into the world of celebrities and ‘Welcome Home Nikki Glaser?’ is a refreshing take on that format. Nikki really blurs the line between being famous and being a fan of Hollywood herself, so its aspirational yet accessible.”
Watch a promo for Glaser’s new series here:
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