The Reason LA Ink Got Canceled

"LA Ink" is the reality show that made Kat Von D famous outside of the world of tattoo enthusiasts. Her television career and "LA Ink" originally began as "Miami Ink" on TLC. IMDb states that "Miami Ink" ran from 2005 to 2008, during which time it followed five tattoo artists trying to establish their own tattoo businesses. Kat Von D only appeared in a total of 20 episodes of "Miami Ink" as a fill-in for one of the other artists, yet she became a fan favorite. Recognizing her appeal, TLC created "LA Ink" as a spinoff, with Kat Von D as the main star (via The List). 

In 2007, the series premier of "LA Ink" had nearly 3 million viewers. It was TLC's highest-rated series premiere ever among adults aged 18 to 34 and was basic cable's highest-rated Tuesday night show among multiple adult age demographics. It actually helped TLC rank as the No. 1 basic cable network for Tuesday night television for the same age demographics, even outperforming ABC, CBS and NBC, as detailed by The Hollywood Reporter.  

Kat Von D's tattoo shop became famous on LA Ink

The show followed Kat Von D and her clients at her own tattoo parlor, High Voltage Tattoo, in Los Angeles. She opened the shop upon TLC's offer to make "LA Ink." High Voltage became popular whether visitors wanted tattoos or not. Some only stopped by to take pictures and buy merchandise (via Insider). The show attracted quite a handful of A-listers. Before becoming a makeup artist, Jeffree Star was a musician and a friend of Von D's. He appeared on "LA Ink" to get a pink Pomeranian tattoo. Frank Iero of My Chemical Romance got a tattoo as a touching tribute to his grandfather. Alt Press lists out other major rock stars like Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day and Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters who both stopped by High Voltage for some ink as well.

"LA Ink" made Von D so famous that beauty brands like Sephora wanted to collaborate with her on makeup products. Kat Von D Beauty launched in 2008. It quickly became one of Sephora's most successful brands and included best-selling lipstick shades inspired by those worn by Von D herself (via Dazed). 

Kat Von D dated Jesse James

The List explains that given the initial popularity of "LA Ink," it was surprising when TLC announced the show's cancellation during what was only its fourth season in 2011. Kat Von D cleared up the confusion with a Twitter post stating that though TLC claimed to be canceling the show, it was coming to an end because she did not want to continue with it. At the time, Von D was also wrapped up in a media storm due to her relationship with Jesse James. She claimed that TLC used her breakup with James as added drama for the show, stating that, "In an effort to capitalize on my recent breakup, the network has decided to focus their energy on re-editing events that didn't happen while filming."

Perhaps Von D's decision to quit "LA Ink" was because the financial rewards of it were not fulfilling. In a 2019 interview with Dazed, interviewer Alex Peters inquired about her free tattoos that she began offering in the years after "LA Ink." Von D replied, "I made a decision to work really hard and get to a place where I wouldn't have to rely on tattooing for money. I wanted to be able to tattoo freely and offer my craft as a gift to whomever I tattooed. For me, it was liberating to take the financial part of it out."

Kat Von D gained negative press attention

Von D's tumultuous relationship with Jesse James (who was already infamous, per Biography, for cheating on his then-wife, actress Sandra Bullock) and her decision to quit the show may not have been the only reasons that contributed to TLC's decision to cancel "LA Ink." Hollywood Life points to Von D's increasingly negative reputation at the time. In the same year that the show was canceled, she walked out of an interview and cancelled major public appearances with little to no notice. 

TLC has been known to cancel shows if anyone associated with them falls under fire. Recent examples include "19 Kids and Counting." The show followed couple Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their 19 children. ABC News connected its cancellation with allegations of sexual abuse committed by son Josh Duggar. "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" was also canceled amid scandals.

In the years since "LA Ink," Von D permanently moved to Indiana, thus closing High Voltage in West Hollywood. She has since started a new, quieter life in Indiana with husband Leafar Seyer and son Leafar Von D Reyes (via People).