Genuine drama poses dilemma for reality TV's 'Kardashians' show

Fri Oct 16, 2015 8:30am EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The "Real Housewives" had a suicide; "Deadliest Catch" lost one of its biggest stars; and child molestation wrecked the cozy family image of "19 Kids and Counting."

Reality TV show "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" is now also wrestling with serious drama after former basketball professional Lamar Odom collapsed at a Nevada brothel and was placed on life support in a Las Vegas hospital.

Cable channel E! says it is "not currently shooting in Las Vegas" for the show, which returns for its 11th season on Nov. 15. But the network declined to say how it planned to handle what TV watchers acknowledge is a real dilemma involving the estranged husband of Khloe Kardashian, and the dash to his bedside of most of the Kardashian clan.

"They are going to have to deal with it. It's not like they can ignore it. I imagine it will pick up in an aftermath kind of situation," said Mary McNamara, TV critic of the Los Angeles Times.

Odom's whirlwind courtship and marriage to Khloe was played out in detail on "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," which devotes much of its air time to portraying its stars' beauty treatments and wardrobe choices, and in the short-lived spin-off "Khloe and Lamar."

But the couple were on the brink of finalizing their divorce when the ex-Lakers star was hospitalized.

That poses ethical questions over whether Odom would want to be included in the shownat this critical stage, and he is in no condition currently to say so.

"On the one hand, producers should be committed to respecting privacy, and they should be mindful of consent. On the other hand, they should be committed to truthfulness," said Wendy Wyattt, professor of media ethics at the University of St Thomas in Minnesota.   Continued...

Los Angeles Lakers' Lamar Odom and his wife television personality Khloe Kardashian sit courtside as they attend the 2011 BBVA All-Star Celebrity basketball game as a part of the NBA All-Star basketball weekend in Los Angeles, in this February 18, 2011, file photo. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok/Files