As “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” season 15 gears up for its summer premiere, fans excitedly await its return, and critics wonder to themselves how on Earth a show featuring a family with seemingly no talent lasted for over a decade. While the ratings may be slipping, the Kardashians still appear to be relevant.
Their reality series isn’t what first brought them notoriety. Kris Jenner, the matriarch and momager of the family previously married Robert Kardashian, the lawyer who represented O.J Simpson during his 1995 murder trial, and together, the pair had Kourtney, Kim, Khloe and their only son, Robert.
A month after her divore from Kardashian, Kris married retired Olympic champion Caitlyn Jenner (known as Bruce before her transition), and the couple had Kendall and Kylie. Kim worked as Paris Hilton’s stylist and even made a couple of appearance on Hilton’s reality show, but Kim’s infamous leaked sex tape with Ray J gave the Kardashian-Jenner clan national attention.
Later that year, Kris pitched the idea of a reality show centered her family to Ryan Seacrest, and 30 days later production for the show began. Only about 898,000 people tuned in for the first episode, but now KUTWK is broadcasted in 167 countries and has led to the creation of multiple (mostly canceled) spin-offs such as “Kourtney & Kim Take Miami,” “Rob & Chyna” and “Life of Kylie.”
Although it is still on the air, KUTWK isn’t doing as well as it used to. Earlier seasons of the show attracted more than two million people with major life events such as Kim’s wedding to basketball player, Kris Humphries earning the reality show more than 10.5 million viewers and season finales drawing in 4.8 million audience members, but nowadays episodes bring in around 1.5 million spectators.
While the rating is still pretty good, it is an obvious drop from older seasons. The popularity of the series and Kardashians is kept afloat by devoted fans who have been with the family since their small screen debut and want to continue keeping with the Kardashians.
“In the very beginning people became emotionally invested and wrapped up in one or more people in the family,” Kris said. “When people watch us, they’ve seen us getting married, get divorced, have babies.”
Stans have seen the ups and downs of the Kar-Jenners’ lives from Kourtney’s rocky relationship with her baby daddy, Scott Disick to Kim’s divorce following a lengthy 72-day marriage to Caitlyn Jenner’s transition. They have seen Kendall and Kylie grow from children into a supermodel and a lip-kit producing millionaire, and the birth of the next generation of Kardashians. The dedication their fans have for the family is the reason why the Kardashian received a renewed contact from E! worth more than $100 million keeping the show on the air at least until 2020.
Whether you like it or not, the Kardashians don’t appear to be going anywhere. Despite the category it is placed in, reality shows are much more interesting than real life, and when it comes to drama, many people can’t look away.