Laura Linney and Jason Bateman star in "Ozark" on Netflix.
Photo: For the AJC
Photo: For the AJC

“Peak TV’ still peaking: scripted programs in 2018 jump to 495 thanks to streaming services

Originally posted Friday, December 14, 2018 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Thanks to streaming services, the number of scripted programs jumped to 495 this year, a record number in an era that’s been called “Peak TV.

That figure is up by eight from 2017. But there has been a shift we’ve seen the past few years.

FX, which has a fair share of quality scripted programs, compiles the list every year. John Landgraf, head of FX, in 2014 predicted that TV had reached a peak point in terms of scripted offerings but that has yet to pass. 

Streaming services - especially the monster called Netflix - increased their scripted programming from from 117 in 2016 to a whopping 160 this year. Everyone from YouTube to Facebook Watch to Apple are jumping into the game.

This figure exceeds the peak of 153 from traditional broadcast networks  such as ABC and NBC last year. Those networks dropped their scripted offerings slightly to 146 this year. Pay cable including HBO, Showtime and Starz came out with 45, up from 42.

The biggest dropoff came from basic cable where networks such as A&E, TV Land, VH1, Lifetime, WGN and CMT have abandoned scripted television shows. Basic cable came out with 144 scripted series, down from 175 last year and the lowest since 2012. 

Streaming series in 2014 represented just 8 percent of all scripted shows. That ballooned to 32 percent this year, more than any other category. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.