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Why People Like The Kardashians: People Aspire To Be Them Or To Befriend Them Says E! President

Kardashian Family

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 12/30/11 11:30 AM ET Updated: 12/30/11 11:39 AM ET

It's no secret that not everyone is a Kardashian fan.

Between attempts to boycott their shows, Kim Kardashian being named as PETA's Celebrity Grinch of 2011, the National League of Junior Cotillions' "The Most Ill-Mannered Person of 2011", and ranking as one of the least desired celebs to have as a neighbor, the public has made it clear about how they feel about the Kardashians.

Or have they?

Believe it or not, but people like the Kardashians. They're a family, but more importantly a business -- at least to the companies they work with. The viewers that tune in keep them on the air. Shoppers who buy their clothes, perfumes, diet pills and books are sending a clear message to companies that the reality TV family means bringing in the big bucks.

Yes, people like the Kardashians.

"At their core, the Kardashians are an incredibly bonded, loving, large family who live an incredibly large life," E! President Suzanne Kolb told The Wrap. "And if you actually look at the history of television, there's a pretty large number of families with that blend that resonate with viewers ... I think there's something emotionally aspirational around that family dynamic and visually aspirational about the way that family lives."

Kolb added that from every piece of research she's seen about the reality TV family, she says viewers "aspire to be them or to befriend them."

Aspiration is often the basis for most celebrity fandom. It's the reason we read about their lives and look at photos of them doing everything from the most mundane errands to walking the red carpets. For the Kardashians -- a family that has "no talent" as Barbara Walter brusquely put it -- it's easy to pinpoint what fans find aspirational; their over-the-top lifestyle combined with a plotline that still conveys the all-American values of a tight-knit family.

That's why despite their public missteps, Kolb told The Wrap, that the Kardashians' fans don't watch them for their bad behavior. "You watch for sort of over-the-top-situations and really a very soapy family dynamic," she said.

But what about those who don't like the Kardashian family? What about the 180,049 people who signed an online petition asking the E! Network to boycott their shows? Kolb said the network takes every viewer comment seriously, but they never considered cutting their ties with the Kardashians.

And why would they? Those 180,049 people that signed that petition are chump change compared to the 3.2 million viewers who tuned in for the season premier of "Kourtney & Kim Take New York," or the combined 8.4 million viewers who watched the Kim's two-part wedding special. The petitioners also don't compare to Kim's nearly 12.2 million Twitter followers, or even the two million people who watched her sex tape over her wedding weekend this summer. They are the reason the network has no plans to cancel the Kardashians.

It's been reported that the family made $65 million in 2010 -- a figured that family matriarch and manager Kris Jenner wouldn't confirm -- but between the eldest sisters' three Dash boutique locations, branded signature fragrances, self tanner, the online footwear site ShoeDazzle, multiple clothing lines and more shows in the works, it's safe to say the family is profiting nicely and the companies they work with are making even more.

The Kardashian family may not have "talent" but they know how to make money, and in this economy it's easy to understand how that appeals to viewers who are dreaming of a better life.


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