The end of peak TV has finally come as the number of on-air scripted series dropped for the first time in years, FX Content and Productions chairman John Landgraf said Friday during the network’s Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour executive session.
FX, which for years has chronicled the year-to-year increase in scripted shows across linear TV and streaming services, reported that 516 shows were produced in 2023, down from 600 in 2022. The drop ends a decade long streak of increases in the number of original scripted series on TV — the exception being a 7% drop in 2020 due to the pandemic, according to the network.
After incorrectly predicting the fall of scripted programming for years, Landgraf said the production of scripted shows has finally peaked.
“The dual strikes undoubtedly played a role, but the industry shift and drawdown on production was likely underway before the strikes shuttered all production,” he said, adding that the realignment of industry priorities have led to a recent “cancellation of numerous projects.”
Landgraf also said there’s been a 31% year-to-year decrease in the amount of scripted content thus far in 2024.
Despite the overall industry drop in scripted series, Landgraf said the network will remain aggressive in the development of original programming. Along with its current lineup of scripted series, including Emmy-winning comedy series The Bear, American Horror Story: Vengeance, What We Do in The Shadows, The Old Man and American Horror Stories.
New series premiering this year include Shogun, a new adaptation of the James Clavell’s novel set in Japan in the year 1600; international spy thriller The Veil, starring Elisabeth Moss; NBA-themed series Clipped, about the rise and fall of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling; American Sports Story: Gladiator, based on the life of New England Patriots star Aaron Fernandez; and drama Dying For Sex.
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.