There has always been a cult of celebrity, if you consider Roman and Chinese emperors having themselves anointed Gods and demanding everyone offer to them in temples.
And people feel connected when they talk about the leaders of the tribe, so I'm sure there were people gossiping about who their king had a a mistress and the prince might marry.
What is new is the cult of celebrity where we aren't following the activities of political leaders, religious leaders and discovers. (Like Charles Lindberg being in the spotlight for years). Instead, you look at Kim Kardashian who got in the limelight due to a sex tape and continues to stay in the spotlight by being outrageous, in essence in the center of attention for being the center of attention. No accomplishment, just pushing limits and trying to stay in the lime light. Like the idiotic story of one of her siblings getting a pet rock. Who cares? Why would anyone care? Because Kardashians are in the center of attention and trying to stay there. It is irrelevant, but perhaps because of the 24x7 news cycle and competition for attention, the news channels prefer to show Kardashian's naked pose and not mention her father in law's boobs than talk about ISIS killing more Christians and enslaving Yazidis, discussing the Palestinians killing Jews, Hindus having kids marry animals for good luck, etc.
So they stick to safe and salacious topics, like what the attention hogs did today to stay in our center of attention.