An era is ending. Keeping Up With the Kardashians will air its last episode in 2021, the family announced on Sept. 8. The show, which airs on E!, premiered in 2007.
“It is with heavy hearts that we’ve made the difficult decision as a family to say goodbye to Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” Kim Kardashian West shared in an Instagram post.
KUWTK wasn’t the first family-focused reality show, but it is one of the most influential. It also turned the Kardashians into household names and multimillionaires. So, why is the family turning off the cameras now?
‘KUWTK’ made the Kardashians famous
When KUWTK premiered 14 years ago, the members of the Kardashian family weren’t exactly stars. Kardashian West had appeared in a few episodes of The Simple Life with her then-friend Paris Hilton and was making a name for herself as a stylist to Lindsay Lohan and Brandy. But she and her family were mostly known because of their connection to Robert Kardashian. The lawyer and friend of O.J. Simpson, who died in 2003, was the father of Kim, Khloé and Kourtney Kardashian.
Then, in 2007, Kardashian West appeared in a sex tape with then-boyfriend (and Brandy’s brother) Ray-J. There have been rumors that her mother, Kris Jenner, was behind the tape’s release, though the family has denied them. Whether or not the Kardashians were behind the tape’s release, they were able to turn the sudden notoriety into lasting fame. Over the years, they went from well-off people who desperately wanted to be rich and famous to people who actually were incredibly rich and famous. Members of the family have started multiple businesses, appeared in various spinoff shows, and even landed (controversially) on the Forbes billionaires list.
Kris Jenner and her family have outgrown ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’
As the Kardashian empire has grown, the show that started it all has become less critical to the family’s success. At this point, they no longer need the series to maintain their fame or their wealth.
“Their brands are so big that they don’t need the show anymore,” an insider told the Hollywood Reporter.
KUWTK attracts about 1.9 million viewers per episode in its most recent season, the trade publication noted. That’s a drop in the bucket compare to the audience the KarJenner sisters command on social media. All five have more than 100 million followers apiece, making them among the most followed accounts on the platform. The most popular, Kylie Jenner, has 195 million followers.
The KarJenners have many successful ventures besides their TV show
Aside from a massive social media presence, the KarJenners are also behind a long list of successful businesses, including Kylie Cosmetics, KKW Beauty, Good American denim, and lifestyle website Poosh. Kendall Jenner is one of the highest-paid models in the world, and Kardashian West is studying to become a lawyer and taking meetings with President Trump to advocate for criminal justice reform.
In short, the Kardashians have a lot of things going on besides their TV show. The famous family may be stepping away from TV — at least for now — but they aren’t stepping out of the public eye.
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