×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

TV Peaks Again in 2016: Could It Hit 500 Shows in 2017?

Don’t expect the dizzying expansion of television to slow down. If anything, scripted TV is almost certain to set another record in 2017.

According to FX Research, 455 scripted original programs aired on American television in 2016.

That all-time high is almost three dozen more than were released in 2015, the year FX president John Landgraf coined the term “Peak TV.” In the middle of 2015, some critics found it “moderately terrifying” that there might be 400 scripted shows that year. FX Research, which constantly updates its data, now says that 421 scripted programs arrived in 2015.

To take stock of this explosion, Variety asked FX Research to tabulate how many scripted shows there were in 2006, and they came up with 192. That means that over the course of a decade, the amount of scripted TV went up by 137%.

The rapid expansion of cable and streaming programming drove much of the increase, and as deep-pocketed players like Amazon, HBO and Netflix continue their acquisition sprees, that’s unlikely to change in the new year.

How will programs stand out in this vast sea of content? That’s a good question, given that there is a lot more TV out there, but the number of people and outlets covering it has not expanded at a similar rate. There’s no doubt that marketing and publicity staffs will be working harder than ever in the new year to make sure that even a fraction of a show’s potential viewership knows their network’s fare exists.

In other words, the second seasons of “Stranger Things,” “Atlanta” and “This Is Us” won’t have trouble getting a lot of press. For hundreds of other shows, it’s going to be a much tougher row to hoe.   

Could the number of scripted programs hit 500 next year? Looking at the steady rise in FX’s chart, that seems a sure thing. But Julie Piepenkotter, FX’s executive vice president of research, told Variety it’s still too soon to tell.

“While it’s a reasonable bet that 2017 will hover around the 500 mark,” Piepenkotter said, “I’m going to go with Yogi Berra: ‘It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.’”

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • THE BACHELORETTE - "The Bachelorette: Season

    'The Bachelor': ABC Announces Leading Man For Season 24

    ABC has cast its next leading man for Season 24 of “The Bachelor.” Peter Weber has officially been named the upcoming “Bachelor.” The announcement was made Tuesday night on ABC’s “Bachelor In Paradise” reunion special. Weber appeared on Season 15 of “The Bachelorette” with Hannah Brown, ultimately becoming the second runner-up. He was a fan-favorite [...]

  • SEAL TEAM stars David Boreanaz (left),

    Showrunner John Glenn Exits 'SEAL Team' at CBS

    CBS is cutting ties with “SEAL Team” showrunner John Glenn, Variety has confirmed. Glenn joined the show for its second season, which premiered in October of last year. Christopher Chulack, Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly also executive produced. “Regarding ‘SEAL Team,’ I am proud of the work we did – and greatly enjoyed having the chance to [...]

  • NBC Campaign Aims to Reclaim Brand

    NBC Launches Campaign to Reclaim Brand Ownership of Hit Comedies (EXCLUSIVE)

    NBC is preparing a new salvo in the streaming-era TV branding wars. As audiences increasingly watch shows like “The Good Place” and “Superstore” on other platforms, the Peacock network has launched a new campaign to remind them that these are, first and foremost, NBC shows. And they’re even enlisting a real-life peacock to convey the [...]

  • Shane Gillis

    'SNL' Sought Conservative Appeal With Shane Gillis Hire

    “Saturday Night Live” was looking to shake things up with the casting of Shane Gillis — and it did, albeit unintentionally. According to sources, the long-running NBC comedy show and series mastermind Lorne Michaels were actively looking to cast a comedian for its new season who would appeal to more conservative viewers. This was meant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Netflix Announces Arsenio

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Announces Arsenio Hall's Comedy Special Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix announced the premiere date for Arsenio Hall’s comedy special and a “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” duo (among others) will guest star on “Elena of Avalor.” CASTING “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” stars Rachel Brosnahan and Tony Shalhoub, as well as Auli’i Cravalho (“Moana”), John Leguizamo (“When They See Us”), Taye Diggs (“All American”), Eugenio Derbez [...]

  • How 'Save Our Show' Campaigns Affect

    From 'The OA' to 'One Day at a Time': How 'Save Our Show' Campaigns Affect Network Interest

    Organized flash mobs and mounting billboards still may not save your favorite shows, as some fan campaigns are finding out. Following Netflix’s most recent decision to stand firm on its cancellation of “The OA,” the question remains, “what will save these shows?” When networks and streamers find that smaller favorites aren’t big cash cows, fans [...]

  • Afton WilliamsonABC All-Star Happy Hour, TCA

    Afton Williamson 'Rookie' Investigation: Studio Finds No 'Inappropriate' Workplace Behavior

    Updated: Former “The Rookie” star Afton Williamson has responded to Entertainment One’s (eOne) findings into her claims of racial discrimination and sexual harassment and assault on the ABC series. In an Instagram post Tuesday night, Williamson lamented “the lengths that were taken to Deceive, Lie, and Cover Up the Truth” following eOne’s statement. “It’s Heartbreaking [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content