Peak TV gone wild: Record 455 scripted shows aired this year
Peak TV has peaked yet again.
According to a tally by FX, there were a whopping 455 original scripted shows in 2016 across broadcast, cable, and streaming networks.
That’s an increase of 8 percent on 2015’s record number — and up 71 percent from just five years ago, according to FX research chief Julie Piepenkotter. And that total doesn’t even count unscripted programming, such as reality shows.
But interestingly, the number of broadcast and cable shows actually declined for the first time in years. It’s the surging streaming services that are solely responsible for the gains by doubling their output from 2015.
FX chief John Landgraf famously first pointed out the peak TV phenom a couple years back by way of criticizing the content deluge as resulting in an increasingly fractionalized and distracted audience; overwhelmed by the number of options and ramping up the difficulty for networks to get attention for quality shows.
But it turns out the prediction of peak TV is only applying to the linear networks, at least so far. Netflix rolled out 600 hours of original programming this year — and plans to continue scaling up by releasing 1,000 hours in 2017. Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos has countered the “too much TV” complaints by declaring there are not too many shows but rather “too many mediocre, safe shows on linear television.”