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Is Kim Kardashian’s Reality Show in a Ratings Death Spiral?

Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian may have played out their reality television series after eight seasons.

Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian may have played out their reality television series after eight seasons.

Kim Kardasian’s bitter divorce from NBA player Kris Humphries appears to have caused her brand lasting damage. The show has never recovered the ratings it enjoyed during their brief marriage and are now so low their reality shows could face cancellation, according to a new report.

It’s hard to put a finger on the factors that have undercut the show’s popularity (there are so many), but the numbers don’t lie.

The most recent episode of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” hit an all-time low of only 1.7 million viewers on Sunday (Sept. 29), according to several reports.

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What E! Says About the Numbers

When this “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” episode aired on September 29, quarter hour ratings increased +14% among Total Viewers between the first and last fifteen minutes of the telecast, rising to nearly 2.0MM by the end. That wouldn’t have been the case if the show was in decline. “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” remains a destination program, according to a statement released to TheImproper.

The numbers reported overlook the show’s popularity on DVRs. Kardashians more than doubles its live Total Viewer numbers through seven days of playback (+110%). This boosts the show to around 3.7MM Total Viewers this season, which is basically even with its equivalent season seven period (3.8MM).

The downward spiral is a sharp contrast to the premiere of the E! Entertainment series. It launched it’s eighth season in June averaging 3 million viewers over the course of the hour, and 2 million viewers in its targeted 18-49 demographic, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

But even those numbers are down from the series peak year in 2009 and well below the 4.1 million viewers the show drew when fans were basking in the warm glow of Kim’s spectacular wedding.

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Her decision to pull the plug after just 72 days of marriage appears to have forever altered the nation’s perception of Kim and her sisters Khloe Kardashian and Kourtney Kardashian.

Among some of the fallout, the bitter divorce revealed that Kim and family members, notably Kris Jenner, were faking some scenes and scripting others. Humphries also alleged the show was edited to change the reality of what was filmed, often portraying him in a bad light.

The relationship between Kris and Bruce Jenner has soured to the point that they are whining nonstop on the show. Tabloid rumors persist that one or both are shopping for a divorce lawyer.

Plus family members, in general, seem to have the morals of an alley cat. Kim and Kourtney had children out of wedlock. Neither are married. Rumored affairs swirl around nearly every family member.

The latest crisis to hit the family, Lamar Odom’s slide into heavy drug use, has also upended wife Khloe Kardashian’s claims about the strength of her marriage. She played the poster girl of happy marriages as late as a year ago and was repeatedly quoted in the media on how to maintain a healthy relationship.

In retrospect, her marriage was on the rocks almost from the get-go. Behind the hype, Lamar was engaging in sporadic and sometime heavy drug use and bedding at least two and possible more women.

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“When Kendra Wilkinson‘s show dropped below 1 million viewers they dropped it, so the Kardashian reality show is definitely in trouble,” an insider told gossip site radaronline. “This is looking really bad for the Kardashians and their show.”

The show is in the first of its new three season deal that will pay the family $40 million and keep it on the air until 2015. But the network reportedly has outs if the show fails to perform.

Problem is, the family has gone to the well so often to gin up drama their audience may be tired of their tawdry behavior, or don’t believe it anymore.

Probably the only thing that can save it is a heavy use on the show of Kim’s new baby North West with rapper Kanye West. But West is said to oppose exposing the child to the scrutiny.

Still, Nori may be getting her 15 minutes of fame before she’s even out of diapers.

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