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Peak TV: The Count of Scripted Series in 2017 So Far

FX Networks chief John Landgraf gave an update on the number of scripted series airing in the U.S. market for the year to date during his wide-ranging remarks on the state of the industry at the Television Critics Association press tour.

FX Networks has for the past two years undertaken a count that has become the foundation for industry metrics in grappling with the deluge of scripted series coming from broadcast networks, basic and premium cable outlets and streaming services. For 2016, the FX Networks count totaled some 455 entries.

According to Landgraf, for 2017 to date, some 342 scripted series have aired, compared to 325 over the same period last year. The biggest increase has been from streaming services, with 62 airing this year to date compared to 51 last year. Landgraf noted that streaming services have announced orders for some 79 series that have yet to air this year.

Broadcast networks have also turned up the volume, with 127 series to date compared to 118 last year. Premium cable has stayed relatively steady (25 vs. 23), as has basic cable (130 vs. 131). The basic cable number is likely to decrease for the year as a whole as a number of outlets — including MTV and A&E Network — have bailed out of the scripted business, in part because the landscape is so crowded.

Landgraf noted that the count for 2017 to date has yet to include anything from Apple, which has put its stake in the ground of scripted content with the hiring in June of former Sony Pictures TV presidents Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht.

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