There’s big news in the reality TV world: Keeping Up With the Kardashians is ending. And as you’d expect from such a long-running show, there have been mixed emotions among the cast and crew. But one Kardashian is taking the news especially hard, and Kris Jenner has announced who it is.
The only way you haven’t heard of the Kardashians is if you’ve been living under a rock. They’ve been everywhere for over a decade, most notably on their own popular TV show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians (KUWTK). At least, they have been until recently, when news broke that the show had run its course.
KUWTK appeared to be going strong with no clear end in sight. Then show manager Kris appeared at the end of an episode in September 2020 to announce its finish. The news left critics overjoyed and fans stunned, partly because no one saw it coming. It came out of nowhere and surprised everyone.
So why exactly did the Kardashian-Jenner family decide to pull the plug on KUWTK? Apparently, the decision was almost as out-of-the-blue as the announcement itself. During a guest stint on TV chat show ellen Kris said it began during network negotiations for KUWTK’s future. “It was kind of sudden,” she revealed.
“I think we were talking about signing up for another couple of years with our network,” Kris continued. “And suddenly just all came to the decision as a group that the whole family felt it was just time. It just sort of came to us, and we thought, ‘Twenty seasons, 14 years, hundreds of episodes and lots of spin-offs.’”
Of course, as usual there had been plenty of celebrity gossip and rumors swirling around the family of late and several Kardashians were apparently already dealing with personal problems. Kim Kardashian West is helping husband Kanye West battle his bipolar disorder, for example. And Kourtney Kardashian took time out from KUWTK’s reportedly “toxic environment.” But then the show is very different now to when it first began.
If you somehow managed to miss the KUWTK media frenzy, though, you’re probably in the dark right now. Who are these people and why are they so famous? Well, the reality TV show follows the lives of the wealthy Kardashian-Jenner family. It offers a sometimes overly revealing insight into their social and personal dynamics.
Since the first episode in October 2007, KUWTK has attracted huge numbers of fans and, in some cases, no little controversy. But as hard as it is to believe now, the Kardashians and their extended family weren’t always so famous. In fact, there was a time when Kim – arguably the most famous Kardashian – guest-starred alongside Paris Hilton.
In the early 2000s, yesteryear’s reality TV stars Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie famously featured on The Simple Life. Hilton’s childhood friend Kim appeared on a few episodes of the show in the role of closet organizer. She later shot to fame as Hilton’s best gal pal, a road that ultimately led to KUWTK.
You can’t build an empire with a single brick, though. Kim might be the most recognized face and parts beyond of KUWTK, but Kris is arguably the brains behind it all. The matriarch of the extended Kardashian-Jenner family was no stranger to fame herself. She married O.J. Simpson’s infamous attorney, Robert Kardashian, in her youth.
Kris set out to make a reality TV series similar to another popular show at the time, The Osbournes. Yet instead of starring a musically-famous family, it would feature hers. So in 2007 Kris began talks with Ryan Seacrest to create what would become KUWTK. She took on the role of her children’s manager, too.
As you can imagine, a lot has changed since KUWTK first aired. And in keeping with the family’s presence in the media, most of it has taken place in front of cameras. For instance, dedicated viewers have watched Kim amass a fashion empire and a family, with the inclusion of husband Kanye and their four children.
Then there’s the previously-mentioned Kourtney, who’s famous for being the first family member to officially quit KUWTK. Fans would be hard-pressed to recognize her since her first appearance on another TV series, Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive. Now she’s a mother-of-three and celebrity endorser behind multiple brand names. She even owns one called Poosh herself.
Likewise, Khloé Kardashian has been through it all during her time on reality TV. She’s experienced motherhood alongside both marriage and divorce. Khloé also branched out to other reality shows such as The Home Edit and Revenge Body. You may have even read the book she wrote, titled Strong Looks Better Naked.
It’s not just the female Kardashians who’ve experienced success over the course of KUWTK though. Rob Kardashian Jr. owns his own sock fashion brand called Arthur George. He also became a father after his fiancée Blac Chyna gave birth. Unfortunately, Chyna and Rob’s relationship ended after a calamitous (and public) social media scandal.
Caitlyn Jenner is another member of the family to experience a very personal change in the public eye. She was previously known as Kris Jenner’s husband and former Olympian, Bruce Jenner. KUWTK filmed an episode dedicated to Caitlyn’s transition and the family’s response to it. Her documentary series I Am Cait further elaborates on her journey.
Kylie Jenner was the center of an early KUWTK controversy simply by appearing on the show. That’s because she was only nine years old at the time. Nevertheless, she came through the other side with a makeup business called Kylie Cosmetics and her own reality TV show, Life of Kylie. Oh, and she became a mother in 2018.
Kendall Jenner wasn’t much older when KUWTK premiered, either – she was 11 with aspirations of becoming a model. Well, she certainly made that dream happen with astonishing results. Forbes named Kendall the highest-paid model of 2018. Her success came about partly thanks to her dealings with big names in the fashion industry.
Lastly there’s Scott Disick, who, as the father of Kourtney’s children, is an honorary member of the Kardashian-Jenners. Although he’s not romantically involved with Kourtney any longer, Disick is still an active parent to his children. Considering his visits to rehab, it’s not all been sunshine and rainbows for Disick. But now it looks like he’s turning his life around.
Some of that is old news, though. Still, the Kardashian-Jenners remain very much current. As we already touched upon, Kanye has been the center of a particularly big announcement this year. The rapper’s always been the subject of controversy but it’s only recently, after some concerning public displays, that his bipolar disorder has been directly addressed.
Kim took to Instagram to reveal the private battle she and Kanye have been facing together. “As many of you know, Kanye has bipolar disorder,” she wrote. “Anyone who has this or has a loved one in their life who does, knows how incredibly complicated and painful it is to understand.”
“We as a society talk about giving grace to the issue of mental health as a whole,” Kim continued. “However we should also give it to the individuals who are living with it in times when they need it the most. I kindly ask that the media and public give us the compassion and empathy that is needed so that we can get through this.”
That’s not the only recent revelation involving Kanye, either. Both he and Kylie have been named in Forbes this year for their staggering levels of personal wealth. That’s right, they’re richer now than ever before, having achieved a net worth of $1 billion each.
The family’s been through a lot over KUWTK’s run so the end was bound to hit them hard. It affected one Kardashian most of all, though. Kris told show co-creator Seacrest as much on his radio feature On Air With Ryan Seacrest. She said, “We had to tell the crew yesterday, so we were all crying.”
Kris continued, “But I think Khloé is probably the one who is taking it the hardest and really hasn’t stopped crying since we announced. She’s been so sweet and just emotional about it.” Yet even as she delivered this news, Kris revealed she was on the verge of tears herself.
“You’re going to make me cry all over again,” she told Seacrest. “It really hasn’t [hit me yet]. I got very, very emotional this morning. I woke up and was in the gym at five with Khloé and Kim, and we just kind of sat there and looked at each other and said, ‘Whoa, what a ride.’”
Khloé confirmed that the end of KUWTK had upset her in an interview with People magazine in October 2020. “It’s really bittersweet,” she told them. “We’ve been on for 20 seasons. We’ve had so many spin-offs and we absolutely love, love, love the show.” Khloé also reflected on how the show came to be in the first place.
“I mean, we were not even supposed to be on TV,” the reality TV star explained to People. “Another show fell through, so we were filler for the network. And we were told actually, ‘Don’t get too comfortable. You’re just filler.’ But definitely it’s nostalgic. It’s sad still. It’s bittersweet.”
It seems that fans think so, too. There was an outpouring on social media from reality TV aficionados who were reeling from the KUWTK ending announcement. “I’m heartbroken,” one Tweeter wrote, “but thank you so much for letting us keep up with you! What are we going to do now?”
Another fan wrote, “Thanks for all the years of entertainment. We enjoyed it very much, and found much humor in, and could relate to, you guys in many ways. Don’t have to be rich or famous. You were just showing us your lives and it was a good old time.”
Of course, not all of the fan responses were quite so positive, as you’d expect from controversial public figures. There were also a fair number of people who were happy to see the end of KUWTK. One critic, for example, wrote “The best thing about 2020 so far is Keeping Up With The Kardashians ending.”
“That is a miracle,” another Kardashian-basher – or if you prefer, Karbashian – wrote. “It has been rich trash on television since it started. Some things really should be kept private.” Then they got personal. “I pray for your children. You just don’t know what kind of lifestyle you have opened for them.” The tirade didn’t end there, either.
The social media rant concluded, “Everybody wants to say they know God but never act like they do.” Ouch! Ah well, you can’t please everyone. Khloé informed People that the Kardashians were generally happy with the public response to their grand farewell. “Me and my sisters, we say, ‘Well, it’s better saying that than like, ‘good riddance, get them off the air.’”
“Everyone was really, really sad and it was a little sweet for us to see that,” Khloé elaborated. “And it made us more sad. We didn’t know people’s reaction. We actually really didn’t know it would be that big of a news story. It was a really positive, really sweet reaction.” Maybe she didn’t read them all!
But how do the people behind the cameras feel about the Kardashian finale? KUWTK co-creator and executive producer Seacrest addressed that, and his opinion of Kris, on Live! With Kelly & Ryan. “I almost feel like I’m family with [Kris],” he said, “and she is truly an amazing partner. And, I think, one of the savviest business people on the planet.”
“Think about how she manages family and how she manages an incredible empire,” Seacrest went on. “It’s no small task, and she has really propelled that franchise and those businesses into what they are today.” He concluded with a personal tribute. “Thank you to the Kardashians, who changed entertainment forever, I think.”
Regardless, the farewell message Kris uploaded to Instagram speaks of her family’s appreciation for their fans. She wrote, “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,” the momager of the Kadashian-Jenner family continued. “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.”
Kris added, “[Thanks to] 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. We are so beyond grateful to everyone who has watched and supported our family these past 14 incredible years.”
“We will be forever in debt to everyone who played a role in shaping our careers and changing our lives forever,” Kris finished. “Thank you for joining us on this crazy ride! We love you all.” So will this be the end of the Kardashians on our TV screens? It certainly seems that way, but no doubt they won’t stay strangers.