It's rare for a reality TV series to enjoy the kind of popularity Keeping Up with the Kardashians has throughout its 20-season run on E!. Its eminently meme-able scenes, exceptional dialogue, and ability to offer a glimpse into the day-to-day life of one of the most widely envied celeb family helped the show smash the ratings. Season 20 of KUWTK wrapped on June 24, 2021. Why did KUWTK leave the network?
In a 2017 lawsuit, Blac Chyna accused the Kardashian family of trying to interfere in decisions made by E!.
In October 2017, Blac Chyna hit the Kardashian clan with a lawsuit alleging that they tried to actively interfere in business decisions made by the network. As she claims, they made efforts to get the otherwise successful reality TV show, Rob & Chyna, scrapped. Chyna was granted trial in February 2021, with the court hearings scheduled to begin on Friday, April 15, 2022.
In December 2020, the Kardashian family made headlines by signing a multi-year deal with Disney. Described as the "premium version" of KUWTK by Variety, The Kardashians will be comprised of at least 40 episodes and two seasons. Its documentarian-feeling scenes and slick cinematography are bound to set the show apart from KUWTK, which is a pillar of mainstream culture on its own.
Unfortunately, it's uncertain what made the Kardashians decide against continuing their journey with E!. Switching from a cable network to streaming might have enabled them to lock in new audiences and further expand their reach. It's possible the business move will further the family's quest to redefine concepts like business, stardom, and extreme wealth — which have been crucial to their brand.
Kris Jenner started drafting plans for a new reality TV series about her family in the 2000s.
Kris Jenner started working on a TV show loosely inspired by The Osbournes circa 2007. She penned her first deal with E! soon afterward.
KUWTK became an instant hit. The show was renewed for Season 2 shortly after its first-ever episode aired, according to Business Insider. This step alone is remarkable for a new TV show. In most cases, the network tends to wait longer to greenlight a new piece of programming for a Season 2. (Established shows, on the other hand, get confirmations in shorter time frames.)
By April 2012, the Kardashians were busy signing a three-year deal for a reported $40 million with E!. Another multi-year deal soon followed. In February 2015, they landed a record-breaking four-year deal for a whopping $100 million. In 2017, they signed a five-year deal for $150 million.
In the fall of 2020, E! announced that KUWTK was ending with Season 20. By December 2020, Disney announced the new deal. Unfortunately, further details about the decision are hard to come by. Either way, fans can safely expect at least two seasons worth of exceptional drama over on Hulu under the show's new title.
Season 1 of The Kardashians premieres on Hulu on Thursday, April 14, 2022.