TCA17: FX's John Landgraf Says Scripted Content Will Peak Soon

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The number of original scripted programming won’t reach its peak until 2017 or 2018, according to FX Networks president John Landgraf.

Landgraf, speaking during the network’s Television Critics Association Winter press tour executive session Thursday, said scripted television programing hasn’t peaked yet, despite 454 scripted programs currently on cable, broadcast and streaming services.

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While admitting he was wrong in his original prediction regarding the peak of scripted fare, he nevertheless said that he was “going out on a limb” to predict that the number of scripted shows will begin to decline sometime in 2017 or 2018.

He added that the network had its best year in 2016 and has a strong lineup set for 2017, although two of the network’s biggest shows of last year – Atlanta and American Crime Story – won’t return until 2018.

He added Atlanta star and recent Golden Globe winner Donald Glover will be busy working on the next Star Wars film, delaying the show’s second season, while FX wants to take its time developing American Crime Story’s focus on Hurricane Katrina.

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“We have high ambitions for this franchise,” Landgraf said. “It’s taken time to get material that we’ve happy with.”

FX has also made strides in diversifying its showrunners, according to Landgraf, with non-white males representing 52% of its original series producers in 2016.

“It’s a work in progress,” Landgraf said. “We’re going to keep going until everything about our channel is fair and better reflects the diversity of the country that we live in. “

R. Thomas Umstead

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.