Televisuality – KUWTK

Keeping up with the Kardashians is one of the most talked about reality shows in the world. It debuted on October 14th 2007—12 years later and the Kardashians remain being the most discussed family in US (if not worldwide). KUWTK is a reality tv revolving around Kardashian/Jenner “clan”—a family of 6 women—and their dramas. The show has brought an incomprehensible amount of fame and money to all of the members; they have millions of followers on social media, a plethora of merchandise, their own make up line, and so on. The show is on its 15th season and it still manages to remain prevalent in conversation and society.

The show’s 2016 promo is a prime example of modern world’s televisuality. There are many ways it’s similar to post-network era of televisuality. Just like then, style is still the foreground and there is a large emphasis on it. Today most openings are short—nobody’s going to watch it if it’s too long. The brief introduction holds the audience’s attention while maintaining the Kardashian’s signature style. In this promo background music entices the audience, growing more upbeat as the promo progresses. The whole background is black, yet it still manages to be very distracting. From the beginning, the audience can see flashy graphics in the background of main characters’ close-ups. The camera never focuses on just one face—we either see one central person and others in the background or same person’s different shots paralleled throughout the canvas.

Though televisuality today still exists, it’s not entirely same as before. The KUWTK promo contains heavy graphics and it’s difficult to concentrate on one specific thing but it is not as heavy as TV show openings used to be before. In contrary to the televisuality of the past, today we see fewer title sequences. Words don’t just appear out of nowhere, often times we see title of the show, network, and airing time by the end of the promo/opening. Even though everything’s still flashy and visual, we still get a sense of one whole idea. Its black background creates a classy, sleek format to illicit an expectation that the upcoming show will be cool and influential. KUWTK’s promo is an ideal example of modern televisuality: it has everything from graphics and flashes to appealing and cool music background.

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