Seeking to calm the epidemic of screen-clutching panic that’s been spreading through the television-watching world ever since FX CEO John Landgraf declared the coming of “peak TV”—that is, the idea that the quantity of good television being produced will soon out-strip demand—Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos has assured people that “there’s no such thing as too much TV.” (He resisted the urge to elaborate by reminding customers of their need to ”SLEEP, WATCH, and CONSUME.”) Speaking at the Hollywood Radio and Television Society’s annual State of the Industry luncheon, Sarandos was joined in his assertion by a panel of other TV-climate-change deniers— including ABC president Paul Lee and Showtime’s David Nevins—most of whom generally agreed that the science just wasn’t in yet on Landgraf’s famous assertion.
“We’re all in an on-demand world,” Lee declared, referencing the opt-in, survival-of-the-fittest nature of current TV viewership. “If you don’t love it, it doesn’t survive.” The network president also cited his own company’s successes in pushing shows with minority leads like Black-ish and How To Get Away With Murder, citing the potential for a “huge wave of creativity” building from the current TV boom. Nevins, meanwhile, was high on his network’s shift into the online world through its standalone service and partnership with Hulu, saying that the current market favors high-quality programming (and also Ray Donovan, he didn’t go on to add). Nevins also threw the word “addictive” around in his replies, in case you were looking to shift your preferred TV supply metaphor from Big Oil over to Big Tobacco for a change.
Sarandos, for his part, seemed sanguine, defending his company’s policy of keeping viewership numbers to itself and assuring listeners that TV was still strong. (Netflix is currently looking to expand its original content vectors, including a push into the news and talk show fields). The executive reminded viewers that even when he was discussing the peak TV concept, Landgraf said problems would only crop up if people weren’t watching more content—with Sarandos’ calm apparently stemming from the fact that no one ever lost money betting that American audiences wouldn’t try to watch more TV.