Why did ‘KUWTK’ Move to Thursdays?

NBC Universal

For 17 seasons, Keeping Up With the Kardashians has aired on Sunday nights without fail. But season 18 is changing things up and airing on Thursdays, beginning on March 26. Why the change? E! does not have an official statement on the matter, but here’s what we know.

It Might Be Due to Awards Season, and It Isn’t Just Keeping Up With the Kardashians That Moved

A little investigating into E!’s recent TV schedule reveals that it isn’t just Keeping Up With the Kardashians that has moved. Sunday used to be the home of fellow reality shows Very Cavallari and Total Bellas. E! apparently decided it was moving all of its Sunday shows to Thursday nights for 2020. Very Cavallari just wrapped its third season last Thursday, March 19, and Total Bellas fifth season will premiere Thursday, April 2, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on E!.

One big reason for the move might be due to awards season. Very Cavallari has never started as early in a calendar year as season three did; likewise, Keeping Up With the Kardashians has only started in January one time, back in 2014. That year, E! had to skip several weeks of KUWTK due to awards season because the big awards shows traditionally happen on Sunday nights and E! covers the red carpets extensively.

So, it looks like for 2020, the network wanted to air three of its strongest shows in the spring and decided to air them on Thursdays so as not to have to skip any weeks.

Ratings Could Also Be a Factor

In the last couple of seasons, Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ ratings have fallen off a bit, earning less than a million viewers per episode. Sunday night TV Is typically very strong — ABC airs American Idol, AMC is usually airing some version of The Walking Dead, and Sunday night is the destination for prestige premium channel shows like Game of Thrones, Succession, Ray Donovan, Homeland, etc.

So maybe E! thought it would try out its most popular shows on a different night of the week? So far, the only data we have to look at is the ratings for Very Cavallari; that show dipped slightly from season two to season three, going from averaging 420K viewers to 350K viewers per episode. It will be interesting to see what the KUWTK ratings are for season 18 and what the Total Bellas ratings are for season five.

One thing that we are fairly certain about is that Keeping Up With the Kardashians will do better on Thursdays than Very Cavallari. Even with KUWTK’s ratings dip in recent years, it still earns right around one million viewers each week, which is triple that of Very Cavallari. Keeping Up With the Kardashians should also provide a nice lead-in for Total Bellas; the wrestling reality show will probably actually see an uptick in viewers due to airing after KUWTK on the E! schedule.

Keeping Up With the Kardashians returns Thursday, March 26 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on E!.

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