January 7 2018

Record number of scripted shows aired on TV in 2017

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 2017.

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

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 487.

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.

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, but every segment other than basic cable reversed last year’s trend of cutting back. Basic cable cut eight series while everyone else added.

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. I keep trying to think of ways to cut back, but all it seems I keep doing is adding more series. Especially when it comes to OTT series such as those on Amazon and Netflix. Now with Apple gearing up for a launch, Disney prepping its own OTT and more, there is just no end in sight.

Now, here is the biggest question from me: When do we run out of writers? There are always people looking to break into Hollywood, but at what point will the talent pool get down to those who shouldn’t make it? I just don’t know how long this sort of production numbers are sustainable.

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

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