Keeping Up with the Kardashians to end after 14 years on TV

Reality show family were masters at capturing attention and leveraging it into profitability

The American television reality show that shot Kim Kardashian and her family to fame is ending in 2021 after 14 years, the E! network said on Tuesday.

Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which helped make Kim Kardashian and her siblings Kylie, Kendall, Khloe and Kourtney household names and launched their careers in the fashion and beauty business, will air its last season early next year.

“It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Keeping Up with the Kardashians. After what will be 14 years, 20 seasons, hundreds of episodes and several spin-off shows, we’ve decided as a family to end this very special journey,” the family said on social media.

They gave no reasons for the decision, but E! said in a statement that it respected “the family’s decision to live their lives without our cameras.”


The show helped Kim Kardashian launch a beauty and shapewear line, launched the modeling career of her half-sister Kendall Jenner, and helped promote a lip gloss business that turned half-sister Kylie Jenner into a billionaire at the age of 21. "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," Kim Kardashian said in a posting to her 188 million Instagram followers.

Keeping Up with the Kardashians made its debut in 2007 and spawned 12 spinoff series. Audiences have declined in recent years to under 1 million from about 4 million at the height of the show's fame. E! is part of NBC Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp.

The family were masters at capturing attention and leveraging that into profitability, something that had eluded their reality-show predecessors, according to Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University. The Kardashians "matured" the reality show genre, he said. "They managed to take a series of skills, very special skills that they had, that heretofore had not had any particular value, and managed to create a genre of entertainment for which they were perfectly suited."

“The show ultimately was about what it looked like when somebody went about a life looking for slobbering attention,” he said. “And it turns out the way they did it was kind of interesting.” The show has also become social media fodder with short video and audio clips of the Kardashians arguing or going on vacation used for memes and GIFs. The family has dominated social media, garnering millions of followers and making it easy for fans to keep up-to-date with their latest news and whereabouts without having to sit down and watch their reality show.

Notable moments and controversies highlighted on and offscreen throughout the show's run included Kim Kardashian filing for divorce after her almost two-month marriage to Kris Humphries, her marriage to rapper Kanye West and the birth of their four children, an armed robbery in Paris, Khloe Kardashian's split with basketball player Lamar Odom, several accusations of family members' taking part in cultural appropriation and a string of cheating scandals surrounding their significant others. Also, Caitlyn Jenner transitioned, after appearing on the show as Bruce.

More recently, Kim Kardashian has become an activist for criminal justice reform. In 2018, she personally lobbied US president Donald Trump to commute the sentence of a 63-year-old woman, Alice Marie Johnson, who was serving life in prison for a non-violent drug conviction. The president pardoned Johnson after the Republican National Convention.–Reuters and New York Times

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