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500 scripted shows in 2017 and 71 Netflix originals: the future of TV is crowded

The cast of Orange Is the New Black
The cast of Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, a show that’s now just one drop in a seemingly bottomless TV bucket.

If you’ve found yourself overwhelmed by the staggering amount of television piling up in your queue, rest assured:

There is so, so much more coming.

FX president John Landgraf kicked off the network’s August 9 press day at the Television Critics Association summer tour with a fascinating — if alarming — presentation revealing FX’s internal research on just how many television shows are out there.

For 2015, FX counted 417 scripted shows, including online streaming services. For 2016, Landgraf says we can expect somewhere between 430 and 450. For proof, he pointed to the fact that by July of last year, there were 304 scripted shows; currently, there are 322.

For 2017, FX estimates, we could have as many as 500 scripted shows.


To put this in context, Landgraf — who has a reputation among critics for being particularly intelligent and open about how the TV business works — actually told the same room of reporters just a year ago that 2016 would hit "peak TV," or a saturation point of content akin to a balloon that inevitably has to deflate.

Now Landgraf admits that 2017 will likely have more shows than 2016, but he remains convinced that "we are going to hit a peak in the scripted series business within the next two and a half years and then see a decline — by calendar ’19 at the latest."


The massive expansion in the number of television shows, he continued, is almost entirely thanks to streaming services like Netflix and Amazon, which are churning out content at a much faster pace now than even just a few years ago. (Basic cable original programming, meanwhile, has declined slightly overall.)

In fact, the report says that Netflix has debuted or announced a stunning 71 original scripted shows — and that doesn’t even include children’s, documentary, late-night, or non-English series.

If that still doesn’t register as particularly mind-boggling, consider that 71 original shows is, as Landgraf said, more than the future programming slates of HBO, Showtime, Starz, and FX combined.

So on the plus side, you’ll never have an excuse to be bored ever again. On the other, you may never get to be outside again, and from what I hear, it’s pretty nice out there.

Watch: How a TV show gets made