The Real Reason Keeping Up With The Kardashians Is Ending

When it comes to pop culture, there's been no lack of updates for fans to follow in 2020. From Chrissy Teigen's pregnancy to the new Mulan movie (and its criticisms), most of our days include tracking the latest celebrity developments from our couches. But there will be one less thing to keep up with next year: the Kardashians. Kim Kardashian and her siblings announced their reality television show is soon going to wrap, with the final season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians airing in early 2021. The family, as well as the E! network, shared the news on Sept. 8, 2020 with updates on social media. 

Kim said she "wouldn't be where I am today" without the show, expressing gratitude for a number of partners as well as her fans for the past 14 years. "This show made us who we are and I will be forever in debt to everyone who played a role in shaping our careers and changing our lives forever," she wrote on Instagram. Kourtney and Khloé shared similar messages on their respective pages, with Kourtney adding on Instagram Story that she'll be gathering her own thoughts in the near future.

But until now, fans haven't gotten a full picture as to why the 20-season show will finally be coming to an end. What's the real reason the Kardashians will be keeping to themselves from 2021 onward? Let's dive in.

Ratings for 'KUWTK' have dropped in recent years

According to Showbiz 411, the Kardashians were having a difficult time keeping up with ratings, much less themselves. According to the site's report in spring 2020, the reality television show was "in decline for some time," with ratings sinking to new lows. The 18th season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians reportedly started off slow with the viewers, with the first couple of episodes only bringing in 1 million viewers, which is less than the 1.4 million fans the show was attracting in earlier seasons. 

In April 2020, the show had declined to only 871,000 viewers, which marked the 4th lowest-rated episode of KUWTK. And the episode that aired the week prior didn't paint a much better picture at only 910,000 viewers. The network even did some shifting around to spur change, with the new air date on Thursdays instead of Sundays. But even in quarantine when everyone seems glued to their couches and screens, Showbiz 411 reported that the show lost about 130,000 viewers since late March. 

Kourtney Kardashian stepped back from the show

Viewers haven't been the only ones leaving Keeping Up with the Kardashians behind. In fact, Kourtney Kardashian stepped back from the show recently, saying it was becoming "toxic," according to an interview with Vogue Arabia. She said she's focusing her energy on other things that bring her joy instead. What's more, the show seemed to infringe on her private life. "Privacy is something I have come to value and finding that balance of private moments with being on a reality show is hard," she expressed. 

The decision came after an uphill few seasons of Kourtney battling with the rest of her family, according to Entertainment Tonight"I've been taking less time with filming and, in general, with work," she said to Health in March 2020. There also seemed to be some discord between her and her siblings. "My sisters don't like when I say 'setting boundaries,'" Kourtney explained, "but it's more about a schedule. I try to make myself available to my kids to really be a mom."

Kourtney's choice left the show with a gaping hole, according to CheatSheet. The outlet reported Kim and Khloé Kardashian were seemingly frustrated with Kourtney and even threatened to fire her after they thought she was committing less to the show. Kim asked, "All of the days that Kourtney isn't filming, Khloé and I are picking up the slack and having to share more. Because if we're not sharing our lives, then what is the show?"

'Keeping Up with the Kardashians' seems stale to some viewers

Even some fans of the show thought the answer to that question — "if we're not sharing our lives, then what is the show? — was "not much." Fans posted on Reddit, for example, about Keeping Up with the Kardashians becoming dry without Kourtney Kardashian there to add to the fun. One user posted, "the show is so different without Kourtney in it. It was like 90% super staged scenes. I feel like Kim, [K]ris and Khloe don't even know what to do without Kourtney to provide the real drama."

Another fan responded, "Absolutely! It highlights how Kim and Khloe (especially Kim) really don't show their real lives," adding, "Khloe looked really annoyed" and "they know it's not going to work well without Kourtney." 

And while the show may have tried to replace Kourtney's loss, it's clear no one can take her place. "Is Scott the new Kourtney? Because, no," another fan said. "As much as I like him (more than most of the others), Kourtney he is not. I feel like she truly didn't give a f**k compared to how phoney-baloney everyone else's storylines are."

Keeping up in the time of quarantine has been tough

It's possible that other things got in the way of the show extending for another season. Kanye West's behavior has been unpredictable, whether disappearing to his Wyoming ranch or launching a Twitter tirade against his in-laws. Then there's his presidential bid, which, although unlikely, has been part of West's recent spotlight. 

In addition, the pandemic has posed challenges for everyone, including celebrities. For the Kardashians, it's meant filming their reality show on iPhones rather than with their full crew. And although that means the family gets new iPhones every week — which doesn't seem like much of a hardship — it does mean the quality of filming and drama could go down significantly.

"If Kris gets annoyed and walks out of the camera angle, it's not like we can follow her and continue shooting. She has to come back onto the screen and explain [why she walked away]," KUWTK executive producer Farnaz Farjam told Elle in May 2020. "It's less fly-on-the-wall, because we have to give them direction and they have to be more informative with us."

And with quarantine still forcing people to stay at home, it's likely the mothers of KUWTK will have their hands full with their kids for the time being. A video Kim did about social distancing, for example, featured North constantly butting in on-screen. Kourtney already stepped away to spend time with her children, so it's possible the rest may be following suit.