Is Hulus ‘The Kardashians’ just the same old show?

Just nine months after ending their 14-year reality TV empire on E !, the Kardashians… are back. This week, the family will come out of their micro-retirement after being paid a reported “massive 9-digit salary” to participate in Hulu’s Kardashians, a repackaged version of their old show. Will the switch to streaming be enough to kick-start this amazing American franchise in decline? Well.

The first teaser trailer (which has since become private for some reason) for the Hulu show, released last December, promised fans that this time “all walls will be smashed” – a statement that sounded groundbreaking at first, but after the other. thought actually means almost nothing. And the first pieces of footage from the show, released last month, turn out to be more of the same. Despite promises that this “updated” series will show a “more intimate” side of the Kardashians as they “develop as a family”, we look for review same group of billionaires playing out same tabloid headlines about a severe delay using same elliptical editing techniques and same cliffhangers piece together based on facial expressions and eye contact. The Kardashians simply took a six-month break before missing out on “getting paid to be together” too much and started filming again. Nothing groundbreaking about it.

Kar-Jenner’s matriarch Kris Jenner has regularly referred to Keeping up with the Kardashians as their family’s “foundation” and “mothership” they radiated down from, so it makes sense that these ladies would feel a little helpless after suddenly losing the self-propagating branch of their regime. When KUWTK debuted on E! in 2007, the invention of Instagram was still three years away. The most famous person on the show, of course, was Kim Kardashian, whom your average American could still probably only identify as “the girl with the sex tape.” Today, they are the most documented women in the world, and together they have nearly 1.3 billion followers on Instagram, or about 16 percent of the global population. And yet, despite all the exponential growth of their personal and professional brands, not to mention the fact that they can reach more people directly on social media than any single streaming platform, the family has failed to evolve with their audience, times and their own megastar status.

This commitment to the formula that made them famous seems particularly frivolous when one considers that the ratings of the original program had also been in a steady decline since 2015. According to New York Daily newsless than 1 million people tuned in to KUWTK‘s season-18 finale on April 30, 2020, the last episode aired before announcing that the show would end. Considering that the season was only six episodes long, down from a series of 21, and had been moved from its traditional Sunday night to Thursday, the news did not exactly come as a surprise.

Part of this decline is due to the Kardashians’ method of plot construction on screen, which had begun to fall apart long before they formally decided to stop. The family has always used KUWTK as a channel through which they can mediate their own scandals and brand image. They first proved the usefulness of the show as a media spin master with Kim’s sex tape, a controversy she easily dismissed in the pilot episode as just something she did because she was “horny and wanted it”, and displayed the shamelessness itself to the public. outrage that would come to define her career.

They then perfected their PR strategy with the rollout of Kourtney’s surprising first pregnancy in 2009, confirming the news a few days before the premiere of her spinoff show, Kourtney & Khloé take Miami. After teasing her father’s identity for several months, they revealed that it was her ex-boyfriend Scott Disick during the season finale for an audience of 2.6 million. The news was also sold in a package deal for Lifestyle magazine for DKK 300,000, pr The Hollywood Reportergiving it the exclusive rights to the notice of pregnancy, sex on baby, birth announcement, first baby pictures and body-after-baby detection.

The family then perhaps played things a little too quickly and loosely with Kim’s extremely short-lived second marriage to Kris Humphries, as not only were E!’S cameras ready to document every moment of the wedding, but the Kardashians also found other ways. to make money at the ceremony. According to The Hollywood Reporter, People magazine bought the exclusive rights to the wedding photos for $ 1.5 million after allegedly paying an additional $ 300,000 for photos of the couple’s engagement announcement earlier that year, and OKAY! the magazine also paid $ 100,000 for exclusive rights to pictures of the bridal show. But even though their relationship would only last 72 days, the two-part wedding special brought as many as 10.5 million viewers on top of the nearly $ 2 million in tabloid revenue.

Thanks to the repeated success of these types of well-orchestrated press cycles, the Kardashians’ level of fame began to rise, and fast. Their fame moved beyond the boundaries of reality TV to product collaborations, fashion magazine covers, personal apps, video games, and even more high-profile relationships. This era also saw them formally launch their two youngest siblings, Kendall and Kylie, as the next generation of breakout stars without talent. But thanks to this increased media control, the tabloid-to-TV show pipeline on which their success was based quickly began to collapse. The media coverage of their lives began to surpass the show far, beginning with Kim’s relationship with Kanye West and hitting fever around the time of her robbery in Paris in 2016. For the first time, instead of the family planting plot lines in the press that eventually would find their conclusion on screen for huge viewer success, breaking stories of Kardashians online long Before they would come to take a stand on the situation of the cameras.

In the case of Kim’s robbery in Paris, the family almost immediately started talking to the media, while Khloé continued Ellen the following week to address the “incredibly traumatic” ordeal her sister had just been through. But even with a gentle stream of source quotes handed out to the tabloids between the actual robbery and KUWTK especially on what was eventually aired six months later, it was not enough to keep their audience engaged. Despite a three-month break on social media and refusal to discuss details of the incident with the press when Kim appeared on screen, revealing that she had begged for her life and “mentally prepared” to be “shot in the head” “,” Fans had already moved on to the next sensational news. And their viewership reflected that, with only 1.58 million people tuning in to the episode, according to Forbesslightly more than the 1.48 million who watched the season premiere – the series’ smallest premiere audience since 2008.

This is actually an issue that Kim seems eager to tackle with their new Hulu show, and Ellen DeGeneres told in a September 2021 interview that Kardashians would have a much faster turnaround compared to KUWTKs six to nine months delay and that she hoped the first episode of their new program would be aired that fall. In a recent conversation with Variety, she called the original show’s delayed timeline “like, us dead.” In another interview on EllenKhloé confirmed her sister’s assessment and asserted Kardashians would debut as soon as January or February 2022. Now, seven months after they first started filming the series, we’ll see (or not) whether the family finally figured out a way to be one step ahead of the press (or not).

So far, a positive result seems questionable given that the trailer resumes every story we’ve already seen unfolding online in recent months, from Kourtney and Travis Barker’s Gothic love affair and Kim and Pete Davidson’s shock coupling to Tristan Thompson’s Groundhog Day-like infidelities that this time resulted in him becoming the father of a child with a woman who is not Khloé. But as with much of the Kardashian world, the most notable of this preview are the real-life plotlines that remain mysteriously absent – such as Travis Scott’s involvement in Astroworld, the Houston Music Festival that left ten audiences dead, or West’s relentless bullying of Davidson on social media and many public manipulation tactics aimed at courting his ex-wife, bordering on direct harassment. These are events that may feel too dark and legally filled to be repeated on screen for their fans, and that even these PR stomachs can not figure out spinning to their own advantage.

So far, the only real significant change seems to be how much the Kardashians will do to allow cameras to re-invade their Calabasas mansions. In 2017, the family signed their final agreement with E !, which renewed the series until 2020 for almost $ 100 million per year. Variety. When she announced their reasons for ending the show, Kris claimed that her kids just wanted time away from the cameras. Still, three months after they announced the end of KUWTK, Hulu confirmed that the family had already signed on to “create new global content under a multi-year agreement” for significantly more than their previous network offered. Despite the multi-million dollar pay rise, Khloé insists the move has nothing to do with money. “It has to fit well, and Hulu was just the perfect fit for us. It can not only be for financial gain,” she said. Varietyand added that as trendsetters, cable was simply “not on brand” and they wanted to cut wires “with someone who is tech forward so we’re up to date.”

By masking these money movements under the guise of personal development and winding through the finale-to-encore life cycle of a show, the Kardashians can actually put the finishing touches on the nostalgia TV coffin. The family cultivated a lot of goodwill and happy retrospectives with the finale of their show last June, but by filming again so quickly, their Hulu series comes out as just another cynical cash grab rather than an authentic reinvention. The public had not even had a chance to know how it felt not to see a Kardashian on their TV screens before the press cycle of their great return began. Seeing this franchise’s zombie-like resurrection so soon after we celebrated it leaves viewers with the indignant feeling of having discovered someone eavesdropping on their own funeral – a funeral that has only made the recently deceased even more unusually wealthy .

The ubiquitous presence of the Kardashians’ media, bottomless greed, and ability to absolutely wander us with content on any platform are precisely the things that pushed them to the highest heights of fame. And now that they’ve got there, it also seems to be ready to take them down again.

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