Has the industry reached the peak of the “Peak TV” era?

The number of original scripted TV series will grow significantly this year setting a new record, according to FX Networks’ Chairman, John Landgraf, who popularized the term “peak TV” to describe the explosion of new TV shows back in 2015.

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John Landgraf

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The number of original scripted TV series will grow significantly this year setting a new record, according to FX Networks’ Chairman, John Landgraf, who popularized the term “peak TV” to describe the explosion of new TV shows back in 2015.

Based on FX Networks’ research team's analysis through the first six months of this year, the number of original scripted series airing to date climbed 16% to 357 on broadcast, cable and streaming platforms. This figure, according to Landgraf, is well on pace to eclipse 2021's record of 559 original scripted series, hitting an all-time new high.

“This year we have seen a tidal wave of scripted programming thanks to the bottleneck of Covid delayed production finally clearing up from January 1 through the end of June,”  Landgraf said during a Television Critics Association panel. “We’ve reached the peak of the 'Peak TV' era,”  he assured.

However, Landgraf projected original scripted TV series - collectively on all broadcast, cable, and streaming platforms - will decline in following years. The directive previously made a similar “high-water” projection, asserting that 2018 or 2019 would see the highest number, and then drop in years afterward. “I’m going to foolishly make another prediction, which is that 2022 will be the high watermark. My original prediction that we would see a maximum in 2018 or 2019 was obviously way off. I think it is obvious that this year will bring a new record,”  Landgraf declared.

In addition, he thinks all the major streaming services have now launched, so there might not be as many new platforms in the near future, slowing the need for seemingly endless streams of new content. “I think we have seen a notable set of additions of new streaming services join the party in the last couple of years, and that process is complete. In other words, I do not see new, major purveyors of programming, entering the scene as they have been continuously over the past decade or more,”  he said.

We’ve reached the peak of the 'Peak TV' era” John Landgraf Chairman of FX Networks