What Comes After Keeping Up with the Kardashians?
Not 24 hours after Kim Kardashian announced that Keeping Up with the Kardashians will sing its swan song (in the key of upspeak) in 2021, an entire news cycle came and went. Highlights included the false rumor that Kris Jenner, matriarch du jour, will be joining the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast, and that Kylie Jenner will get (another) spinoff.
By the time the sun sets o’er the hills of Calabasas, I’m sure that the rumor mill will have churned some fresh new theories — a fitting end for the show that was once a headline machine, but has since become more like a behind-the-scenes video reel you watch once the DVD comes out on Blu Ray. Even the calculated announcement that the show was nearing its end — minimalist black sans serif text on a white background posted across the remaining Kardashians cast members' social feeds — is emblematic of the era that KUWTK ushered forward: A micronews moment that dissipates almost as soon as it appears, replaced just hours later by the next square on the grid.
Save for gifs, we don’t need the Kardashians’ TV show anymore. (RIP, crying Kim and couldn’t-be-bothered Kim.) We already watch their drama play out in real time, and leave our questions littered across their comments’ sections. Some watch the show as ritual, and others to see if they made it on TV when they crashed Kris Jenner’s 59th birthday at 1Oak in Vegas and were told to “stand at this table and dance.” (Spoiler, I didn’t make the shot.) But, 14 years after the show first aired, no one watches KUWTK to actually keep up.
There are many theories floating around the ether about why the Kardashians are leaving their show: Some speculate that it was Kourtney finally reaching her breaking point; others that they’ve run out of drama, and needed “the end of the show” as a final storyline. Here’s what they are saying — that it was a mutual, family decision to move on, and that it had absolutely nothing to do with Kanye West’s current presidential run.
I’ve been there for every divorce, every wedding, every one of Kris’s grandchildren that was brought into the world — we all have. I can still tell you exactly where I was when Caitlyn introduced herself to the world via her Vanity Fair cover in 2015, or when I listened to Jordyn Woods’ Red Table Talk interview in 2019, and when I learned that Kylie Jenner was really pregnant, and not just rumored to be. “People are dying, Kim,” is still my favorite retort to overuse. Bible.
In the summer of 2013, I was vigilantly on baby watch, both for Kanye and Kim’s first child, North, and Prince William and Kate Middleton’s first, George. A Gemini and a Leo, both born into royalty; one is the result of centuries of nepotism, the other of late stage capitalism. But though the Kardashians are the poster children for whatever passes as "the American dream" these days, they're also a beloved family that feels like a distant, relatable extension of our own. Neither we, nor they, are perfect, but we're trying.
The question on every Kardashian fan’s plumped, Kylie-lip-kit bedecked lips, is some version of the same thing: What’s next? No one but God (or Ryan Seacrest) can answer that question definitively — but if I was to guess:
- Upon receiving her law degree, Kim Kardashian will run a successful presidential campaign and wear Balenciaga on Inauguration Day
- Kris Jenner will be Kim’s VP
- Kanye West will be Kim’s First Man, and Yeez-ify the White House by making all of the furniture concrete
- Kourtney will lead the FDA, replacing the food pyramid with one, giant avocado smoothie and a handful of chia seeds
- Poosh will be taught in schools, as a replacement for health class. The initiative will be run by Mason
- Kylie Jenner will realize more things
- Kendall Jenner will wear more bike shorts
- Khloé Kardashian will colonize the moon with Elon Musk for her new reality show, Khloé and Elon Take the Moon
- Penelope Disick will join the Peace Corps
- North West will invent a new style of music and tour the world under the name (Just) One Direction
- Saint, Chicago, and Psalm will move into a mansion together and become famous TikTok teens
- “Rob Kardashian” will be the answer to the million dollar question at the World Trivia Finals in 2075