December 24 2016

Record number of scripted shows aired on TV in 2016

Just how much TV is too much TV? Apparently we haven’t figured that out yet as we set a new record for scripted shows in 2016.

Yes… that is exactly how opened this post last year.

The FX network has been tracking how many scripted shows air each year on broadcast, basic cable, premium cable and OTT (think Netflix).  The number has been expanding rapidly beginning in 2011, and has now hit a staggering 455.

I kind of want to hear someone say, “There’s never anything on,” and then just stare at them and wonder what in the world they are looking to watch.

Here is how it has broken down over the last several years.

Scripted TV 2016 graph

These numbers do not include reality, news, sports, made-for-television movies, specials, daytime and children’s programming.

Clearly the OTTs are adding the most shows while other outlets are cutting back as they replace with other forms of programming. And that makes sense in this crowded landscape. It could also explain why we’re seeing so many reboots happening as the networks need a way to stand out.

When are we going to say, “Okay, we’re good. You can stop now.” If you look at my Netflix queue of things I want to catch up on, it will never happen. Add in the shows I watch as they air, and for the first time in my life I’m considering a rather large stoppage of shows I’m deep into. Normally a show has to be horrible (Smallville) for me to not finish it, but if a show is the least bit soft any more, I consider cutting it. (I’m looking at you Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

Here’s hoping your favorite shows survive the inevitable culling.

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