The End of an Era in Reality TV: Keeping Up With the Kardashians Comes to a Close

Pop Culture

The End of an Era in Reality TV: Keeping Up With the Kardashians Comes to a Close

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

The year 2020 will be remembered for taking away every possible remnant of life as we once knew it. While we’re barely breezing through the “new normal”, it looks like there will be one less thing to keep up with. The long-running reality show Keeping Up With the Kardashians is finally calling it quits.

The end of an era, truly.

On Tuesday night, KUWTK star Kim Kardashian took to Instagram to break the news to her fans. After a 14-year run, the show, which kicked off in 2007 and raised the Kardashian-Jenner family to global stardom, will wrap up with Season 20. Revealing that the last season was set to air early next year in 2021, Kim expressed her gratitude towards the support from her fans, family, all individuals and businesses involved with the show over the 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,” she added alongside the Keeping Up With the Kardashians Season 1 poster.

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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

The show, featuring Kardashian with her sisters, Kourtney, Khloé, Kendall and Kylie, their brother, Rob, and mother, Kris Jenner, offered viewers a candid and very dramatic and flashy look into the personal and professional lives of the family. Highlighting their dynamic through thick and thin, KUWTK is a one-of-a-kind reality show that cannot be recreated. And clearly momager Kris Jenner was onto something when the idea first came to her back in 2006, if the success of the show is anything to go by.

Even if you aren’t an avid viewer and don’t quite take the time out of your schedule to keep up with the Kardashians, there’s no denying that KUWTK is sort of a cultural milestone. For one, it really took the concept of family showbiz to a whole new height (while profiting off it), and gave the concept of reality TV a brand new look.

According to Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University, the Kardashians “matured” the reality show genre by creating “a genre of entertainment for which they were perfectly suited.” Where’s the lie? Furthermore, if you take away the layers and layers and layers of drama and high-end fashion game off the table, the Kardashian-Jenner clan could be pretty relatable in their most cringe- and laughter-worthy moments.

Like the time Kris invited their neighbours and we felt the second-hand embarrassment with the Kardashian siblings.

Or that time when Kourtney couldn’t hold back her laughter seeing Kim’s crying face. Every sibling ever.

Or when Kim lost her diamond earring in the ocean and Kris gave her a reality check? Nothing quite relatable here but the fact that the conversation reads like fake subs makes it pretty iconic. And tbh, Kris wasn’t lying.

With their familial and personal lives exposed to the limelight for 14 years, KUWTK has been a wild ride. We’ve lived through the animal print on animal print styling, Kim’s 72-day marriage, a whole lot of cultural appropriation, the birth of Caitlyn Jenner, Kylie lip challenge that had the internet crazy for weeks, Kim’s marriage to rapper Kanye West, and the rise of the Yeezys. A whole lot of Yeezys. There are some things that only the Kardashians could do, I guess.

From television to fashion magazines and controversies and even down to our meme folders, the Kardashian-Jenners are pretty much everywhere, every moment. Even as the show prepares to draw the curtain, it’s not the end of KUWTK.