The longest run of this type, “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” on E!, will be ending its 14-year run (18 seasons). The show began in 2007.
But don’t worry. Heavy drama, eye-rolling, sarcasm, nasty remarks and other faux-celebrity-tinged content will still be around. And not just with your favorite broadcast and cable networks. Streaming services are dramatically pushing reality TV/unscripted efforts, too.
Reelgood, the streaming discovery app, says there were 265 reality shows on Hulu; 180 on Netflix; 135 on Tubi; 129 on Amazon Prime Video; 129, IMDb TV; 28, HBO Max; 21, for Disney+; and 13 on Vudu in May.
The top reality TV show, Netflix’s “Tiger King,” commanded a 35.6% share of total streams from Reelgood users between May 15 to May 31.
At least on major TV broadcast networks, virtually all bigger reality efforts are competition style shows: “The Voice,” “The Bachelor,” “Dancing with the Stars” and the oldest entertainment competition show, “American Idol,” which began in 2002.
TV networks also make use of other young-skewing relationship efforts -- “Big Brother,” “Love Island” and the granddaddy of reality TV programming -- “Survivor,” which began in 2000, and combined some competition with relationship-oriented TV.
Cable TV networks still have a number of family efforts out there, such as Bravo’s covering of all things around housewives: “Real Housewives of New York City,” Dallas, New Jersey, Atlanta and Beverly Hills -- nine U.S. editions in all.
Rumors were the Kardashians' TV show was no longer cheap -- and why E! may have decided to end its run. In 2017, the Kardashians secured a $150 million contract. Now, according to reports, three years later, they wanted double -- $300 million.
All this when for the 2019-2020 TV season, the “Kardashians” averaged a modest 1.1 million Nielsen-measured prime-time viewers. This is down from its best TV seasonal ratings during its run -- at around 3.5 million.
For many, it elicits some Hollywood-based family themes, where you can become “famous for being famous” -- where a family can capitalize on revenue-producing merchandising businesses attached to their TV-grown celebrity life.
So maybe that’s the answer. But how many real-life wannabe celebrities do we want or need?
The answer may be to expect more — especially those pursuing higher levels of U.S. public and family status. That what reality show “The Apprentice” tells me.