FX’s John Landgraf likes to make bold claims. Earlier this year, he declared that his network’s shows are better on average than Netflix’s, and at the TCA summer press tour he explained that America will hit “peak TV” in 2015 or 2016, meaning that fewer TV shows will get made each year after that. The former is subjective (even if it’s hard to argue with), but FX has actually been researching that latter point and is now ready to reveal just how many scripted TV shows aired across the networks, cable, and on streaming services in 2015.
According to a press release, that number is a staggering 409, which is—as Landgraf predicted—a new record. That number is also 9 percent higher than it was last year, and since 2009, the total number of scripted shows has gone up 94 percent. FX is quick to highlight that part of that increase is due to the number of shows on basic cable networks (like FX!) going from 66 to 181, which seems like a trick to get us to mention Fargo or You’re The Worst, but we won’t fall for it. Now, if Landgraf’s prediction about peak TV is correct, next year will either see more or less than 409 shows air, but the year after that will definitely be less. Then it’s all downhill until the sun explodes.