The Kardashians End Their TV Run - But Family Reality Shows Live On

Hard to tell whether family-oriented, celebrity-pursuing reality TV shows is waning. The answer doesn’t come in the obvious places.

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.

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