Image Source: Getty / Dimitrios Kambouris
It's the end of an era, as Keeping Up With the Kardashians is set to come to an end in 2021. After so long on the air, we're all wondering why the show is ending now. The initial announcement largely skirted around the reasons for the cancellation, simply calling the decision a "family" one, but we're now finding out that the decision was prompted by the family's contract with E! coming to an end.
On Thursday's episode of KUWTK, the family broke down in tears as they told the show's crew that the series was ending. "It's been a really excruciating decision to make. This journey's been the most incredible thing that we've ever done and we can't even express the appreciation that we have for you along the way," Kris Jenner said. Kourtney Kardashian called the ending "bittersweet," adding, "With the crew and production, we've been so close and in each other's lives every day for 13 years. I have learned so much and I don't have any regrets, so I just hope that everyone understands our decision."
While chatting with the show's producer Ryan Seacrest during On Air With Ryan Seacrest, Kris teased that it was "the right time" for KUWTK to end. "I think the number 20, well it used to sound good until 2020, but the number 20, it just seemed like the right time," she said. "I think for us to take a minute and breathe and everybody slow down a bit. Not slow down professionally, but just you know figure out what our next steps are."
Individually, the Kardashian-Jenner family members have been slowly distancing themselves for a while. In late 2019, Kourtney shockingly departed the show. She lated told Vogue Arabia, "I have been filming the show non-stop for 14 years . . . I was feeling unfulfilled and it became a toxic environment for me to continue to have it occupy as much of my life as it was . . . Privacy is something I have come to value and finding that balance of private moments with being on a reality show is hard."
Rumors have also followed the family for years that Kendall and Kylie Jenner, both of whom have launched their own careers outside of the reality show, have been trying to get out for years. They've appeared less and less in recent seasons, and in a December 2019 Twitter Q&A, Khloé Kardashian cleared up the rumors. "Kendall and Kylie have different contracts. Kourt, Kim and I have an equal contract," she explained.
The E! network has been struggling recently, with the notable cancellation of their flagship E! News program in early August 2020; it's possible the end of the Kardashians' show is also tied to that as well. In true reality-TV-star fashion, though, none of the family has ever really addressed the possibility of the show ending, at least publicly, until now, when the decision has been made. It seems strange to think of a reality-TV landscape without the Kardashians, who pretty much pioneered their particular blend of high-life, real-life "reality" shows, but rest assured that the Kardashians themselves will definitely still be around.