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The Los Angeles Times devoted a lot of space to a story that, if you read between the lines, boils down to one key fact: The folks running the E! network realize the Kardashian clan won’t be hot forever.

Keeping-up-with-kim-kardashianFor the past couple of years E! has put most of its eggs in the Kardashian basket, but such personalities have a way of flaming hot — and potentially exhausting their fuel pretty quickly. So the money quote in the story is from E! Prez Suzanne Kolb when she says the Kardashians are “a very loud franchise, and there is a beauty to that. But the concern is that you don’t really know the life span of a show, and you need to make sure you are developing other hits.”

Kolb also says, hilariously, in regard to Kim’s 72-day marriage, “You cannot be in the reality business and then be upset when reality happens.” Um, no offense, but in terms of the Kardashians, “reality” left town ages ago.

The subtext also suggests that Kris Jenner might have priced her brood out of being quite so attractive when she secured a lucrative new three-year deal with E! earlier this year.

As most of the headlines suggested then, the Kardashians will be around for awhile, and their influence — especially in the pages of magazines like US Weekly — remains outsized by any measure. But for both E! and its signature stars, it’s pretty clear the clock has begun ticking.