Scripted Originals Hit 455 in 2016, Says FX Networks

Scripted original series hit 455 in 2016, according to FX Networks’ annual study, an 8% increase over 2015. The number of scripted original series went up a stunning 71% from 2011 to 2016. During that time, broadcast has increased its scripted offerings by 25% and basic cable by 63%. Premium cable went up 9%, while digital platforms such as Netflix and Amazon went up 1,450%.

There were a half dozen scripted originals on streaming platforms in 2011, says FX, and there are 93 these days.

“Peak TV was once again far from peaky in 2016, with a record 455 scripted original series across broadcast, cable, and streaming sources,” said Julie Piepenkotter, executive VP of research at FX Networks. “This estimate reps an 8% increase over just last year―but an astonishing 71% increase over five years ago and 137% over a decade ago.”

At the TCA press tour in August 2015, John Landgraf, FX Networks chief, predicted 2015-16 would represent "peak TV," with a decline in originals to follow.

A year later, he amended his prediction, calling for a peak in the scripted business within the next 2 ½ years, then a decline by 2019 “at the latest." 

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.