Can The Kardashians Survive In The Trump Era?

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In October, the Kardashians will officially celebrate 10 years on television. In that time, the family has managed to cram 13 seasons’ worth of bickering, bonding, pregnancies, weddings and trips to their cosmetic surgeon into their flagship reality series,” Keeping Up with the Kardashians .” Ten years on television is impressive for any demonstrate, let alone a reality series, which more often than not creates merely fleeting moments of fame for its stars. But the Kardashians aren’t merely reality stars, they’re the first household of reality Tv. When E !’ s “KUWTK” premiered on Oct. 14, 2007, George W. Bushwas president, American troops had been fighting in Iraq for four years, the financial crisis was just beginning to devastate the economy and Trump was hosting a reality demonstrate on NBC. A modern-day” Brady Bunch” reality program about a wealthy, obnoxious, mixed Hollywood family was a welcome distraction for viewers dealing with difficult times. The demonstrate was such a hit that the network renewed it for a second season after only weeks on the air. The Kardashians’ success only grew over time and the family left competitors in the genre, like” Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels” and “Hogan Knows Best” in its dust. But America has changed a lot in a decade, and the Kardashian’s brand of frivolous escapism might not suit these periods quite as well. Some, in fact, even blame the Kardashian Klan for the subsequent altitude of reality Tv stars into prominent public figures. In January, longtime Kardashian critic Chelsea Handler told Variety that she “blamed” the famous household for the way the media encompassed Trump during the election, which she believed subsequently aided his victory.” They were treating him as an entertainer first. It was a reality demonstrate. We’ve was transformed into a reality demonstrate. I blame the Kardashians, personally; the beginning of the end was the Kardashians ,” Handler told.” The way these people have blown up and don’t go away — it’s surreal. Everyone is for sale .” Handler’s blame feels somewhat misplaced, but she’s not incorrect about the comparing. We rely on the Kardashians to flaunt their wealth, feud with fellow celebrities, and entertain us with their personal drama and over-the-top antics.( Surprise engagements! Attempts to contact the dead a with creepy medium! Ugly crying !) But the Kardashians begin to feel redundant when the president of the United States is a ratings-obsessed self-proclaimed billionaire who picks fightings with Meryl Streep, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Snoop Dogg, and talks about his cabinet selections as though he were handing out rises on” The Bachelor .”
It might seem cruel to compare the Kardashians to Trump, as they actually promote a lot of progressive values, including championing the transgender community. Plus Kim has openly supported Hillary Clinton, frequently promotes gun control and, after Trump instituted his traveling prohibition, she even tweeted out a statistical graphic showing that Americans are more likely to die by being shot by another American than by an Islamic jihadist. And while Trump is rumored to be a “never-nude,” the Kardashians wouldn’t fall into that category. But make no mistake: Both the Kardashians and Trump are operating out of the same reality Tv playbook that calls for conflict, misdirection, manipulation and scandals allegedly featuring golden rains. Trump has been president for nearly 60 days, yet he’s still acting as though he’s starring on” The Apprentice” a and it seems intentional. Between the endless leaks and reported infighting among Trump’s top aides, there is no deficit of drama coming from the White House.
“I don’t think it’s surprising that conflict is being stoked, generated, and encouraged[ within Trump’s faculty ],” Jeff Jenkins, a co-president at the production company behind “KUWTK,” told Vanity Fair in December.” I guess the sad and frightening reality from my point of view is that all of that conflict and all of those small skirmishes … that’s just a smoke screen. We, as citizens, are get confused. It’s an unfortunate technique, but it’s effective .” Given that the news is already saturated with reports that Trump detests the way press secretary Sean Spicer garments, will anyone care the next time Kanye West overhauls Kim’s closet? Or with rumblings that White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus are at war with one another for control, is there any room to mull over whether or not Kim invited Blac Chyna to a baby rain? When Trump use both his personal and official presidential Twitter accounts to attack Nordstrom for dropping his daughter Ivanka’s clothing line, does that leave room for us to care if Khloe comes to Kim’s defensewhen Amber Rose calls her a “whore”? And with Trump’s completely unsubstantiated claims that Obama wiretapped his telephones during the campaign, it’s unlikely anyone will raise their eyebrows the next time Kim gets paranoid and accuses her BFF Jonathan Cheban of leaking stories to the press. The Kardashians prospered in the Obama era, but Trump’s win has inspired somewhat of a shift in celebrity coverage. Although sexuality will always sell, these days, a female celebrity can get just as much, if not more, attention for voicing her political views as she can for posting a bikini photo on Instagram. This poses a problem for the Kardashians, who rely on beachside bikini photos, nude selfies and the public titter over their cleavage to make headlines. Now, that’s not to say the Kardashians aren’t political at times , nor that they’re wholly flippant. But there are already signs the Kardashians’ spotlight is dimming. Proportion of their current strategy has been to use their “KUWTK” present as a commercial platform for their larger empire. Even though they divided a six-figure salary per episode, the real fund is in the endorsement bargains, apparel lines, video games and lip kits. But biding on Tv is paramount to their continued exposure, marketing and success. Which is why declining viewership is such a concern. Season 12, which aired from May to November 2016, resulted in the show’s lowest ratings ever. The premiere of Season 13, which aired on Sunday night, was watched by 1.48 million viewers a building it the series’ least-watched season premiere since 2008. One hypothesi for the drop in viewership is that the Kardashians have actually been undermining audience interest in “KUWTK” with their amped-up social media presence. The demonstrate has historically been used as a platform for major announcements to mine for ratings, but by the time the episode rolls around these days, the pregnancy discloses, engagements and encompass shoots are old news. Some of this can be attributed to the fact that the Kardashians have been sharing much more about their personal lives with their increased focus on Snapchat, their personal apps and live-stream chats.” When people looked at me in a manner that is like,’ Why is she stepping into the tech world? That’s not her territory! Stick to reality Tv !’ I was like,’ No ,'” Kim told Forbes in July .” This is fun for me. Now I’m coming up with Kimojis and the app and all these other ideas. I don’t see myself stopping .” And considering Kim told” 60 Minutes” she owes her career to social media, it seems the Kardashians are willing to keep embracing more social platforms at health risks of losing TV viewers. Bypassing the networks, cultivating their own audiences on social media so they can speak directly to the public. Hmm. Where have we heard of that before? Ironically, Kim’s three-month hiatus was likely to be a boon to the demonstrate if viewers tune in to consider what she was up to during her social media blackout. It seems that’s what “KUWTK,” which bills itself as a way for fans to run behind the headlines and separate fact from fiction, is banking on. Fans who tuned in on Sunday night were no doubt expecting the season to start with Kim opening up about her October Paris theft, which is what the trailer for the demonstrate surely implied. Instead, viewers were treated to one of the most boring hours of television, consisting of the eldest three Kardashian sisters arguing about whether or not they should close their line of apparel stores and Khloe uncovering her relationship with NBA player Tristan Thompson( which she already confirmed via Snapchat in September ). Viewers will have to watch next week’s episode if they want to learn what really went down in Parisa a clever and somewhat deceptive ratings tactic. Beyond the drop in ratings, there are other signs the Kardashian era is ending. The household is actually losing ground on social media. In fact, Kim hasn’t been the most-followed person on Instagram since August 2015 and was quickly usurped by Taylor Swift. Today, she’s been bumped down to the fifth most-followed person, while Selena Gomez holds the top honor. On Twitter, Katy Perry, who is trying her hand at politically tinged music for the first time, is the most-followed, while Kim sits at No. 13 and Khloe ranks all the way at No. 56. It’s only on Snapchat where Kylie Jenner have continued reign supreme. The 19 -year-old is still the most-followed person on the app” by a long-shot .” But a more general indicator that the Kardashians should be worried is a decline in overall search. A chart in Google Trends for the term “Kim Kardashian” shows a clear dip in the months after Kardashian’s robbery. Though it remains to be seen if Kim’s post-robbery break will actually increase interest in the demonstrate, the three months in which she retreated from the public eye coincided with Trump’s win. In that time, the majority of members of Hollywood responded with loud sobs of resistance. Patton Oswalthas generated apparently endless headlines with his tweets about Trump and managed to raise his overall public profile in the process.Likewise, celebrities including Tom Hanks, Amy Schumer and Meryl Streep garnered more attention for their clear anti-Trump sentiments than for their professional projects in recent months. No one can blamed Kim for taking time to recover from her traumatic experience. But with the exception of the aforementioned tweet that appeared to criticize Trump’s travel ban, neither Kim nor her sisters have made any statements concerning Trump or his policies. That’s not to say they owe anyone their political opinions. Still, if we’re looking at strategies to help keep them relevant, it’s certainly an idea. Consider that while E! watched a 3 percent decline in viewership in 2016, cable news networks enjoyed massive ratings increases ahead of the election. CNN watched a 77 percent jump in overall viewers, while MSNBC increased its viewership by 87 percent. Ratings have dipped in 2017, but cable news networks are still find impressive numbers compared to this time last year. Meanwhile, Tv comedians are mercilessly skewering the president and reaping the rewards of what’s been dubbed the” Trump bump .” ” Saturday Night Live” is having its highest-rated season in 24 years ,” Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” has considered a huge surge in overall viewership, and” The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” has been dominating late-night for six consecutive weeks amid rumors NBC is pressuring “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon to” get more political “ in light of his own declining viewership. So while a change in strategy might seem like the obvious answer for the Kardashians, that could backfire, too. If audiences were looking for a way to escape when” Maintaining Up with the Kardashians” premiered in 2007, that doesn’t seem to be the case now. Even if the Kardashians were to suddenly begin featuring episodes with intense political discourse instead of bikini-baring household vacations, it’s doubtful it would affect their ratings issue. Just look at what happened when Caitlyn Jenner tried to showcase actual issues faced by the transgender community on” I Am Cait .” The demonstrate was heralded by critics as groundbreaking and lauded for sparking important dialogues, but it was canceled after two seasons due to low ratings. No, it doesn’t seem productive to ask the Kardashians to change, but they don’t seem too worried yet. Of course, they’d never talk about something as uncouth as ratings. To be fair, despite the decline in viewership, the show isn’t in any immediate danger of being canceled, since E! still considers it” one of the most-watched series in cable .” Ten years is a long time to dominate the world of reality Tv. While the stars of once-successful shows like” The Simple Life ,” The Hills” and” The Jersey Shore” have more or less faded into obscurity, the Kardashians understood how to perpetually keep themselves in the spotlight. Now that the country has its hands full keeping up with Trump, perhaps the Kardashians can take some time off and ready themselves for when Kanye runs for president in 2020 … or 2024. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms . It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. Read more: www.huffingtonpost.com [/ or_column_text ][/ or_column ][/ or_row]

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