US hits 532 scripted titles

American television has broken another of its own records with a whopping 532 scripted titles produced in 2019.

Including dramas, comedies and limited series that’s up 7% year-on-year and eclipses 495 titles in 2018.

The annual tally is compiled by FX, but CEO John Landgraf -who coined the term Peak TV some years ago- has previously warned that more is not necessarily better.

“There is too much story. There is too much story,” Landgraf said in 2018. That leads to the “inability to surprise the public, to offer something that seems really new, really new.”

He has also announced that his research team will no longer be compiling the list.

“Given that the streaming wars are now at hand, that total will increase substantially this year, which to me is just bananas,” he said.

He added it was “a crazy race to keep such a huge conveyor of content running.”

It’s also an impossibility for critics (I hear you!).

Matt Roush, a senior critic for TV Guide Magazine, said, “Every week is, ‘Oh my God!’ Everyday is an ‘Oh my god!’ It’s an embarrassment of riches, but also a calamity of overkill.”

Source: NY Times


  1. Let’s enjoy it while we can… if Netflix doesn’t becoming genuinely profitable before the other big streamers (Disney/HBO/Amazon etc.) catch up, the whole thing could come crashing down when the venture capitalists currently plowing billions of dollars into content pull the plug.

    This is a very interesting 6 minute watch from The Ringer website:

  2. What is fascinating is that any member of the TV industry should say that their is too much story as recycling familiar themes and formulaic story arcs have been an integral part of producing the many long running TV serials commonly viewed on terrestrial and cable TV for decades especially in the USA where the viewer choices are abundant.
    For most of the nascent streaming apps market the U.S. is the main focus for the choice of content released. Showing the way forward Netflix are providing more foreign language productions to fill their monthly releases as they customize their presence in each region, this diversity holds the key to making creative original content in quantity, there’s a whole big World out there.

      • When the “show of the decade” is a cable remake of a 1970s low-budget, evening, prison soap that’s enough evidence for me.

        Last year it was Upright. And Minchin is already talking about trying to string out what was clearing intended as a short one-off story where all the characters’ arcs were satisfactorily completed. Before that Rosehaven then Please Like Me. (Mr Inbetween is based on The Magician, an indie film from 2005).

        Nothing in the upfronts looks original for 2020, (we getting a reboots of Flying Doctors, a medical procedural and Farmer Wants a Wife).

        • Ok I guess Stateless, Fallout, Between Two Worlds, The Secrets She Keeps, Informer 3838, Hungry Ghosts, must all be old ideas too. They are all first run Aussie titles for 2020, and that’s just in Drama.

          • A Chinese Ghost Story genre piece ( the eponymous film, sequels and a thousand others plus Supernatural, Charmed, Buffy, The X-files etc), a post-apocalypse drama (Jerico, Jeremiah, The 100, or The Postman, A Canticle For Leibowitz, Shannara etc) a drama about a woman abused by her powerful, rich white husband (must have take a long time to think up that one in the age of #metoo), a pro-refugee drama (SBS makes one of those a year).

            Maybe the government bureaucrats who pick and fund our dramas and comedies have suddenly figured out how to find and make startlingly original, interesting TV, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Original TV is very rare.

          • Definition about Original is the key here. To compare Hungry Ghosts to Charmed sight unseen is curious. These are all first run, not remakes, moving on…

  3. There is great content and there is absolutely shxt. Some content is just garbage and fillers. Loads of streaming shows don’t get many seasons or have few episodes in a season.

  4. I have no doubt it means good things for the industry in that more people are working but how do the bulk of shows achieve any sort of cut through? Especially in the day and age of streaming where almost shows debut and are removed from public conscious a few weeks after, this is especially true of services like Netflix which drop all episodes at once, weekly drop might seem frustrating but helps an audience watch is collectively over weeks ensuring it remains top of conversation.

    I read an interesting article last night regarding director Lulu Wang who directed The Farewell. She was offered more money by a streamer for her movie but ultimately went with small studio A24 because he streamer, whilst having reach couldn’t make any promises around who would see the title due to recommendation algorithms not surfacing the same content to every user, throughout that article it mentioned…

    • Netflix arguably started the trend for binge viewing and as they don’t survive on TV ratings and release shows and movies regularly it proved to be a good business plan for them, even if a new subscriber only signs on for one month at a time.
      Numbers of addicted streamers mainly use their phones or pads, only recently has the Smart TV opened up a whole new market using UHD formats like HDR10 and Dolby Vision, any movie or TV producer who ignores the growing market offered by streaming will be left behind, especially with the money on offer.

    • At them moment they don’t need to cut through because they are burning shareholder capital while they do anything to compete for market share. Eventually it is just a game of musical chairs though.

      It started when cable channels started making big budget scripted dramas and comedies to replace movies, docos and syndicated content (HBO, Showtime, History, A&E etc). Netflix supercharged it and now the studios whose content Netflix relied to to start are desperately state out turf for their vast libraries.

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