Photo: Frank Micelotta/Associated Press
Streaming outlets, cable networks fuel record number of original TV shows
By Joe FlintThere were a record 409 scripted television shows on broadcast, cable and streaming services this year, according to research by FX Networks.
The rise in scripted shows has been both a blessing and a curse for the TV industry and viewers. On the one hand, more shows mean more opportunities for actors, writers and producers as well as more choice for TV fans.
Conversely, the glut of scripted shows is making it harder for any one show to break through the clutter. Ratings at the broadcast networks and many big cable channels including FX and TNT are down this year, in large part because of the fragmentation of the viewing audience.
FX Networks Chief Executive John Landgraf has bemoaned the growth in scripted content, saying that there is not enough creative talent to maintain current levels.
“The bubble has created a huge challenge in finding compelling original shows and the level of talent needed to sustain those stories,” he said earlier this year.
FX Networks is a unit of 21st Century Fox, which until 2013 was part of the same company as Wall Street Journal-owner News Corp.
The 409 series, which don’t included unscripted shows, movies, mini-series, news or sports, are an increase of 9% from 2014 when there were 376 series. Since 2009, the number of scripted series has grown by 94%, according to FX.
Driving the increases are cable networks and streaming services, which have been spending heavily on original content. Netflix has indicated recently it has no plans to slow down on creating content and Hulu has also stepped up its commitment to original fare.