Last night, Keeping Up With the Kardashians fans' biggest nightmare came true.
KUWTK stars Kris Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian West, Khloé Kardashian, Rob Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner, and Scott Disick all co-signed a joint statement announcing that the ever-popular E! reality series is coming to an end in 2021.
"After what will be 14 years, 20 seasons, hundreds of episodes and numerous spin-off shows, we are beyond grateful to all of you who’ve watched us for all of these years – through the good times, the bad times, the happiness, the tears, and the many relationships and children," the statement read in part. "We’ll forever cherish the wonderful memories and countless people we’ve met along the way."
To our amazing fans - It is with heavy hearts that we’ve made the difficult decision as a family to say goodbye to Keeping Up with the Kardashians. After what will be 14 years, 20 seasons, hundreds of episodes and numerous spin-off shows, we are beyond grateful to all of you who’ve watched us for all of these years – through the good times, the bad times, the happiness, the tears, and the many relationships and children. We’ll forever cherish the wonderful memories and countless people we’ve met along the way. Thank you to the thousands of individuals and businesses that have been a part of this experience and, most importantly, a very special thank you to Ryan Seacrest for believing in us, E! for being our partner, and our production team at Bunim/Murray, who’ve spent countless hours documenting our lives. Our last season will air early next year in 2021. Without Keeping Up with The Kardashians, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I am so incredibly grateful to everyone who has watched and supported me and my family these past 14 incredible years. This show made us who we are and I will be forever in debt to everyone who played a role in shaping our careers and changing our lives forever. With Love and Gratitude, Kim
A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Sep 8, 2020 at 2:34pm PDT
The show, which first premiered in 2007, has been wildly successful for E! and equally beneficial for the Kardashian family. After garnering impressive ratings for KUWTK, the Kardashian-Jenner clan went on to launch various beauty and fashion lines, as well as a mobile video game. They've also become some of the most well-known social media influencers and reality stars on the planet. Recognizing the Kardashians' insane popularity, Variety reports that E! inked a deal with the family in 2017 three more years, that was valued at a whopping nine figures.
So why is Keeping Up With the Kardashians ending?
Given the tremendous success of the show, it's a valid question that could have a multi-part answer. A recent Los Angeles Times article raises a good point about the "changing business of TV and celebrity," especially in the age of social media and streaming services. After all, if fans wanted to see the latest drama with the Kardashians, they could easily just log into Instagram and keep up with the family there. And after over a decade on the air, the Kardashians have a very impressive social media presence. For reference, both Kylie and Kim cracked the list for most Instagram followers on the platform in 2020 — Kylie has 195 million followers, while Kim has 188 million.
Plus, the outlet points out that the show had a ratings peak in February of 2010, with the season 4 finale reaching a total of 4.8 million viewers. By contrast, per Nielsen numbers, the most recent episode only garnered 810,000 viewers.
Ratings aside though, clearly E! was trying to hold onto the Kardashian clan for as long as possible, hence the aforementioned deal in 2017. Also, judging by part of the statement E! provided to CNN following last night's announcement, it sounds like the family, not the network, ultimately made the cancellation call: "While it has been an absolute privilege and we will miss them wholeheartedly, we respect the family's decision to live their lives without our cameras."
In addition to E!'s statement, Khloé's heartfelt Instagram caption also made it sound like the ball was in the Kardashians' court when deciding to pull the plug. "I’m too emotional to fully express myself at the moment. My sappy post will come soon. Change is hard but also needed at times❤️💔❤️💔 I love you all. Thank you for the memories!," she wrote.
I am so grateful and thankful to everyone who has supported us and been there through it all. I’m too emotional to fully express myself at the moment. My sappy post will come soon. Change is hard but also needed at times❤️💔❤️💔 I love you all. Thank you for the memories!
A post shared by Khloé (@khloekardashian) on Sep 8, 2020 at 2:43pm PDT
The family's announcement follows a turbulent summer for two of the show's stars — Kim and her husband, Kanye West. After issuing a flurry of tweets and revealing private details about Kim's first pregnancy, Kim asked the public for "compassion and empathy" as she tried to help Kanye, who was reportedly diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2018. TMZ confirmed that KUWTK would not film Kanye or their four children — North, Chicago, Saint, and Psalm — during that difficult period for the family.
Moving forward, it's anyone's guess if the Kardashians will end KUWTK and launch a new series or spinoff. But if what Kris told Variety in 2017 still rings true today, only a handful of the Kardashians will likely be down for a spinoff going forward. While she thought at the time Kim and Kanye would be out, she "could see" Kourtney wanting to do another spinoff after having done a few with Kim and Kourtney in years prior.
Guess we'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, at least fans will get to enjoy the new season of KUWTK, starting on September 17.
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