SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: KARDASHIAN EMPIRE COLLAPSING

Published on: October 16, 2013
Photography by: Getty
NationalEnquirer.com

BRUCE and Kris Jenner’s marriage isn’t the only thing that’s ending – the whole Kardashian empire is in flames.

An in-depth ENQUIRER investigation reveals that America is turning off the greedy family’s reality show, their branded clothing is selling at deep discounts, their popularity is plummeting, and they have become magnets for lawsuits.

With the family’s spider web of endorse­ments and licenses on the rocks, some ques­tion whether the scandal-plagued E! television series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” will be renewed after its three-season contract is up.

“Good riddance,” declared Melissa Henson, director of communications and public education for the Parents Television Council.

“The whole catalyst for the series was Kim  Kardashian doing a sex tape. So what’s the lesson for kids who may want to go into show business? That program has taught a lot of kids you do whatever it takes.”

After eight seasons, it seems many viewers are no longer interested in keeping up with the sleazy, self-indulgent clan. The show took a dramatic ratings nosedive in late September with its lowest numbers ever – 1.79 million viewers compared to its 2.5 million average.

That’s a monumental slip from the 4.1 million viewers who caught Kim’s marriage to pro basketball player Kris Humphries in August 2011. Even though “momager” Kris negotiated a $40 million contract to keep the show on the air until 2015, the network can pull the plug if it fails to perform.

And Henson offers reasons why Americans are turning away from the Kardashians in droves.

“With the exception of Bruce Jenner, these are not people who are famous for anything important or substantial,” she explained. “They’re not great actors or musicians or singers. They’re famous because one of them put out a sex tape.

“In light of the success of shows like ‘Duck Dynasty,’ you can see that there are so many better ways to do reality television.”

According to Q Scores, a measure of celebrities’ popularity often used by marketers, Kris and Kim’s “likability” have both nosedived by 50 percent in the past two years.

The Kardashians’ plummeting popularity is reflected at cash registers across the country.

Just three years ago, according to the “Hollywood Reporter,” they made $65 million – more than the estimated earnings of Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock and Tom Cruise combined!

Sisters Kim, Kourtney and Khloe plus their mom Kris commanded a sprawling empire that included fashion boutiques, fitness videos, credit cards, a best-selling fragrance and tanning and skin-care products.

“After taxes they are only bringing in $22 million,” said an insider about their $40 million deal with E! to produce three more seasons of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” “and that has to be split between all the family members, lawyers and agents.”

Meanwhile, a number of their brands have run into trouble.

Earlier this year, the sisters were forced to rename their Khroma makeup line after a judge hit them with an injunction in a trademark lawsuit filed by the creator of Florida-based Kroma Makeup, who had sought $10 million in damages.

Last year the sisters were slapped with a $5 million lawsuit for “unsubstantiated, false and misleading claims” in ads, interviews and tweets about the effectiveness of the Kar­dashian-endorsed diet-product QuickTrim.

The plaintiffs alleged that QuickTrim’s main active ingredient was caffeine and stated that the FDA has determined that caffeine is not safe or effective for weight control. A settlement was reached earlier this year to compensate purchasers.

In 2010, the sisters got embroiled in another fiasco after endorsing a prepaid debit card that the Connecticut Attorney General determined had “predatory” fees. After the Kardashians terminated the card deal, the card company sued them for $75 million.

“The Kardashian motto seems to be another day, another lawsuit,” said an insider.

Some retailers also appear to be sharing the family’s grief – including Sears. The industry giant is selling new Kardashian Kollection items at a whopping 40 to 50 percent discount.

“If Bruce and Kris’ split leads to the demise of the Kardashian empire,” said Henson, “it would be a welcome development to many people.”