A couple months ago, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf played canary in a coalmine, sounding the alarm about the burst of scripted content across television networks and streaming content providers. “There is simply too much television,” said Landgraf, claiming that the industry is producing too many scripted series and arguing that we were “in the late stages of a bubble.”
Earlier today, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Saranos offered a retort, both to Landgraf and to the whole idea of peak TV. “There’s no such thing as too much TV,” said Sarandos. That gibes with Netflix’s current corporate philosophy: The streaming service has a slate of aggressive expansion in place through the next couple years, rolling out the linked series of Defenders Marvel shows and the cultbait comedy With Bob and David, with plans for a late-night show and a Full House reunion for next year.
Netflix’s run of buzzy series like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black have disrupted the content-creation model, arguably even more than the early-’00s rise of cable television. Netflix’s success led networks like FX and HBO to pay more attention to their streaming experience — and helped usher in a boom of original online-only series, from Amazon’s Transparent to Hulu’s Mindy Project revival. It remains to be seen if the sheer quantity of original series is the new normal, or a bull market awaiting correction.