New Peak for Peak TV as Number of Scripted Series Hits 559

Reservation Dogs
FX original series 'Reservation Dogs' was one 559 original series to air in 2021. (Image credit: FX )

The number of scripted original series for adults rose 13% in 2021 to a new peak of 559, according to research done by The Walt Disney Co.’s FX Networks unit.

The total includes shows on broadcast, cable and streaming services.

The previous peak was 532 series in 2019. The total dropped to 493 in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic hampered production of TV and movies.

Also read: Why ‘Peak TV’ Was a Flawed Theory (and John Landgraf Didn’t Invent It)

The number of series began to climb as more and more cable networks jumped into the original business as a way to differentiate their brands and extract larger fees from cable operators. 

Once streaming services started creating original programming, it began to seem like there were just too many shows for anyone to watch them all

As one of the first cable networks to create original series, starting with The Shield in 2002 FX has been tracking the number of series.

FX chairman John Landgraf is often credited with popularizing the idea of peak TV–the notion that at some point the number of original scripted shows would peak. ■

Original Scripted Series Chart FX

(Image credit: FX Networks)
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.