Number of Scripted TV Series Dipped 7% in 2020, FX Says

'The Mandalorian' returns in October
Shows on new streaming services like 'The Mandalorian' on Disney Plus had been boosting the number of scripted series on TV (Image credit: Disney Plus)

The number of scripted shows on broadcast, basic cable, premium cable and streaming dipped 7% to 493 from their peak of 532 in 2019, according to research from The Walt Disney Co.’s FX Networks.

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The drop, likely caused by shows not being produced or canceled because of COVID-19, came despite the introduction of new streaming services like Peacock and HBO Max that showcase their original series.

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Despite the decline in the number of new series, time spent watching television and time spent streaming in particular soared as people sheltered in place to avoid catching the Coronavirus and slow its spread.

FX, known for its original content, has been keeping track of the number of scripted shows and its head, John Landgraf, famously called the phenomenon of more networks making more shows “peak TV.

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There were an estimated 210 scripted shows on television in 2009 and the number has grown steadily until it topped the 500 mark in 2019.

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.