How The Departing Kardashians Irrevocably Destroyed The E! Network
Sometime ago, it was announced that E!’s staple reality TV dynasty, Keeping Up With The Kardashians will be ending its reign after 20 seasons of curated familial drama, featuring the muse herself, Kim Kardashian as the Los Angeles socialite, who formerly worked as Brandy’s stylist, where she presumably had that fateful meeting with her client’s brother, Ray J.
The infamous sex tape could’ve been the scandal to end it all, which is comical when you consider how it pales in comparison to the real-time postings on social media, that even go as far as capturing an influencer’s miscarriage for those who may be wondering how that works.
When KUWTK assumed its position back in 2007, as the blueprint for how to capitalize on fame and fortune, as the invaluable currency of shamelessly showcasing the early renderings of living your #bestlife — social media was still a new phenomenon.
As the story goes, media mogul extraordinaire, Ryan Seacrest felt compelled to turn the Kardashian/Jenner brand into the must-see TV obsession that it became, almost as soon as the previously half-hour offering, successfully captured the appetite of legions of impressionable fans, who were starved for the same shit that presently keeps Instagram afloat.
The winning numbers after each season of watching burgeoning momager Kris Jenner, expertly pimp out her brood of attractive daughters for lucrative projects, with her favorite, Kim, getting the more appealing contracts, naturally led to the habitual replications via a slew of unremarkable spinoffs launched in notable cities like New York and Miami.
It wouldn’t do justice to merely state that the collection of white women who amassed riches beyond comprehension by poaching from the often times vilified and demeaned aesthetic of Black women, managed to somehow achieve their lofty dreams and then some.
The timing was superb based on how the late aughts heading into the 2010s, seemed to indicate a strong lean towards gross superficiality in the realm of D-listers and celebrity wannabes, who could only attain superstardom through the invasive lenses of performative chaos.
Bravo was starting to yield the rewards of the Real Housewives franchise, starring so-called upper-class “housewives” situated in gated communities located at glitzy zip codes, who will stop at nothing to retain those statuses at the expense of their own financial stability, and bonuses of extra camera time.
What gave KUWTK the audacity of incomparable viewership in the first half of its enviable run was the perfect combo of untouchable privilege for bright-eyed dreamers and the accessibility to the existence of TV characters who were playing themselves in a scripted world.
The ratings bonanza gifted Kim & Co. with keys to a kingdom that was rapidly evolving to accommodate specific brands, that are formulated to satisfy the trusted system of celebrity worshippers, who ordain “influencers” for their gluttonous fetishes as narcissistic vultures, as opposed to tangible contributions to applicable genres.
But while Kris Jenner aggressively expanded her empire of greatest hits with rotating days and nights of mind-numbing episodes, centered around family members saying the same shit over and over, with ever-changing body parts and love interests, E! network was sadly transitioning away from being the global messenger of “all things entertainment.”
E! first hit the scene under a different name, “Movietime” back in 1987 with its primary focus encompassing the scope of marketing and promotion for services like “movie trailers, entertainment news, event and awards coverage, and interviews,”
I became an avid viewer seven years after the relaunch as E! Entertainment Television on June 1 1990. This ambitious undertaking was meant to solidify the network’s commitment to premium programming that covers all the facets of the “celebrity–industrial complex, contemporary film, television and music, daily Hollywood gossip, and fashion.”
This was certainly the golden era of television as it pertains to top-notch coverage of red carpet events/pre-show festivities, and the after-parties that granted unprecedented entry into the star-making moments of the rich and famous.
The now defunct E! News was established in 1991, and immediately became the industry’s megaphone for breaking news, highly-anticipated announcements, and juicy celebrity entanglements, as well as up-to-date accounts of anything worth knowing about in La La Land.
There was also a slew of original programming that sufficiently tackled the avenues of an expansive genre with necessary emphasis on specific elements that make for good TV.
The debut of the global fiesta known as Wild On! was the first of its kind when it came to epic treks to seductive locales, under the worthy tutelage of E!’s longtime talents and former models, Jules Asner, who initiated the party and Brooke Brooke who helmed the thriving network’s certified hit for another three years, before stepping down in 2002.
Wild On! was the sole reason why I daydreamed about being being an on-camera host of a show armed with the paid vacation that permits a killer wardrobe and zest for life, against the backdrop of the top ten exotic destinations in the world.
After the departure of Brooke Burke, Wild On! became an unrecognizable landscape of dysfunction thanks to the revolving door of replacements who had a hard time embodying the “party girl” vibe, in the effortless way that their predecessors achieved for a network that relied on the reputation of being the hub of all the action.
Things got worse after actress Tara Reid signed on in 2005 to transform the ailing travel series into Taradise, the ill-fated entry, that was supposed to center around the adventures of Reid and her posse, as they explore hot spots in search of what had already been unearthed in past seasons.
The cancelation of Taradise happened after only a few episodes, and that pretty much confirmed the demise of one of E!’s beloved original series. It couldn’t survive the turning tide of “must-see TV,” that was rapidly shifting towards the normalized salaciousness that would inevitably inspire the ordainments of what tragically destroyed the life’s blood of Entertainment Television.
E! True Hollywood Story that began its still ongoing production in 1996 was another prominent slot that took the documentary and biographical route by examining the storied rise and fall of Tinseltown’s most notable figures with theatrical spices that makes each episode required viewing.
And how can we forget the original gem initially known as Talk Soup, that started out as the hilariously witty recaps of the popular daytime shows of that era, including the The Jerry Springer Show, minus The Oprah Winfrey Show that wisely opted not to submit clips for humorous dissection by the likes of Greg Kinnear, who began the ride in 1991 and Aisha Tyler who ended it in 2002.
As always, in order to keep up with the changing times, Talk Soup was conveniently revamped into The Soup with actor Joel McHale serving as host and co-writer of the social commentary series, that had no choice but to poke fun at its own network’s shameless roster of reality TV cliches, with Keeping Up With the Kardashians and its numerous offshoots getting the most laughs.
Fast forward to the present, and the E! Network isn’t far from flatlining under the strain of dire consequences stemming from the decades-long affair with Kris Jenner, and the demanding itinerary to stay loyal to the renowned brand that was too viable to discard, even when the once robust numbers drastically dipped to dismal lows.
The confirmed exit of The Kardashian/Jenner women who are leaving with the coerced antics that fueled explosive storylines, with mandated fakery to boot, came five years too late. There’s no possible way to restore a defaced platform, that can’t be reformed after greedily catching the same disease that also made mince meat out of partners-in-crime like MTV and VH1.
There are rumors swirling about why KUWTK will soon be a thing of the past. And while the most ruthless momager in the business would rather sell the narrative about wanting to honor Kim’s wishes to protect the dignity of her husband’s mental health struggles, which once again paints the “selfie queen” as the victim, the real facts are more straightforward.
The ratings have been quite bad for some time now, and while sources claim the most famous reality TV family in the universe had hinted about wanting to end the show in the past, but were given an insane amount of money to stay, the truth is that the over-saturation of the Kardashian/Jenner brand proved to be a suffocating trend that was no longer paying off.
And with their unremarkable departure is the consuming realization that they will leave behind a distorted legacy that E! may never fully recover from when you consider the recent cancelation of E! News, the prolific entertainment news program that now only resides in the shadows of online surfing, due to a depleting budget, partly because of Covid-19.
The remaining morsels that attempt to retain the credentials of a fading creation, Daily Pop and Nightly Pop don’t quite resemble the delivery prowess of past talents, who all embodied the attributes that gave E! permission to make its mark. This was during an impressionable period in television that was sparked by innovative coverage of an industry that has since been devoured by influencer culture.
Perhaps rebranding E! with a vision board that erases reality TV and infuses slots with a more diverse and international offerings that capture the climate with a more realistic approach, and provides high visibility to talents of color who are typically overlooked, would be the best way to go.
Either way, the fact that Keeping Up With The Kardashians is going to be over for good is basically good riddance to bad rubbish.
They’ve gotten filthy rich off of spreading their venom and damaging anything and anyone they come in contact with, and if you don’t believe it, just ask Lamar Odom or any of the other victims of the unshakable curse.
Unfortunately, we can now add the E! Network to that dreaded list.