As Kardashian TV juggernaut comes to an end, the famous reality family won't be going anywhere
After 14 years, E! 'S long-running "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" will air its final episode on Thursday, and a week later the family will meet for a special two-part reunion episode hosted by Andy Cohen.
Kim Kardashian West announced the end of the unicorn reality series last fall after 20 headline-grabbing seasons. At that time, Kardashian posted her gratitude on Instagram and thanked the fans, "who have watched us all these years - through the good times, the bad times, the happiness, the tears and the many relationships and children".
But that's not the end of the Kardashian-Jenner empire.
Disney (DIS) announced in December that it has partnered with the famous family on an exclusive, multi-year contract that will allow the Kardashians to "create global content that will be streamed exclusively on Hulu [Disney has a controlling interest in the Platform] in the USA ”and abroad until the end of 2021 on the company's Star platform.
All five sisters - Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, Kendall, and Kylie - are expected to star in the upcoming series along with mother Kris.
According to various reports, the cast wanted a raise (which led to the decision to leave E!), So all signs point to a big payday at Hulu. At this time, Disney has not yet announced the financial terms of the agreement.
The last deal that E! was inked with family for $ 100 million in 2017, according to Variety.
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"Keeping Up with the Kardashians" premiered in 2007 - a poignant time in television history.
It was the year The CW's “Gossip Girl” and AMC's “Made Men” made their big debuts while “The Sopranos” and “The O.C” aired their final episodes.
At the time, Disney's "High School Musical 2" was the most-watched cable television film in history with over 17 million viewers, while 7.4 million people watched the now-canceled Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on CBS.
For an extra dose of nostalgia, it was also the year that reality star (and future US President) Donald Trump competed with Vince McMahon in WWE's "The Battle of the Billionaires" (spoiler alert: Trump won).
Cable television was once a prized form of home entertainment. But a decade and a half later, the media landscape is very different - and consumers have a lot more choices.
Streaming services - from veteran Netflix (NFLX) to newbies HBO Max (T) and Disney + (DIS) - have grown in popularity over the past year, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center, the proportion of US adults who say they watch TV via cable or satellite has fallen from 76% in 2015 to 56% today.
In addition, 61% of those who do not currently subscribe to cable or satellite television say they have done so in the past, while 39% say they have never subscribed.
Meanwhile, social media and viral TikTok challenges continue to reign - with reality stars (like the Kardashians) often at the forefront.
Kim Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kris Jenner and Bruce Jenner arrive to the season two premiere party of "Keeping up with the Kardashians" at Les Deux Night Club on March 19, 2008 in Hollywood, California
Currently, each of the 'KarJenner' sisters has amassed well over 100 million followers on Instagram alone - and offers fans continuous, up-to-the-minute updates, in contrast to the much longer process of waiting weeks for new episodes to be broadcast!
In addition, according to Nielsen, audience ratings peaked at 4.8 million during the season four finale in February 2010. The last few seasons haven't even come close.
All of this suggests that the Kardashians don't need E! be successful. You just have to meet the fans where they are - which mostly happens on social media and streaming services these days - and the networks start to grapple with the same reality.
Alexandra is a production and entertainment correspondent for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @ alliecanal8193
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