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There really is “too much television.” Those were the words FX Networks CEO John Landgraf used in August to bemoan the ever-growing content bubble, thus giving a name to the proliferation of original series on broadcast, cable, premium, streaming and more: Peak TV.
That theme was unavailable when Landgraf and other network chiefs returned to the Television Critics Association’s stage in January, with the FX topper joked that counting television series was like counting lemmings. The executive predicted that 2017 would be the year that series output would register a decline from the 412 original scripted series and hundreds more of reality and docuseries. To help illustrate Landgraf’s point, FX put out a list of all primetime series on television in 2015 that tops 1,400 (see below).
Polled by THR at TCA in January, multiple network toppers expressed their fears for the future of the television industry. HBO’s Michael Lombardo noted his biggest concern was “chasing noise to break through the plethora of choices,” while Netflix’s Cindy Holland revealed she was worried about the “health of all the networks.” CBS’ Glenn Geller, meanwhile, stressed that there is a “misperception that network television is dead,” while Landgraf hammered it all home: “We make more shows than we can afford, collectively.”
Landgraf also noted that Peak TV has reached a point where not only is it challenging to keep up with all 400-plus original scripted series but also the outlets that have entered the scripted fray. Many network toppers, including TNT/TBS’ Kevin Reilly, stressed that the cable landscape would likely be dramatically different in five years. Reilly noted cable “will have fewer networks and new corporate alignments,” while Bravo/Oxygen/E!/Esquire’s Frances Berwick suggested it wouldn’t be “called cable; it will be called ‘video content.'”
Check out the list of original programs broadcast in 2015 below, ranked by total viewers.
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