CEO of FX Networks & FX Productions John Landgraf. Landgraf noted that last year the total of original scripted TV series had swollen to an eye-popping 370 and he predicted this year the number would likely exceed 400. With such a proliferation of viewing options, even the good shows contribute to the problem as they “get in the way of the viewer finding the great ones,” Landgraf said. Frank Micelotta / FX via AP
CEO of FX Networks & FX Productions John Landgraf. Landgraf noted that last year the total of original scripted TV series had swollen to an eye-popping 370 and he predicted this year the number would Show more

FX Networks exec says there is simply too much television these days



John Landgraf, chief executive of FX Networks, says he can feel the audience’s pain – because there is now simply too much to watch on TV.

“I long ago lost the ability to keep track of every scripted series,” he told the Television Critics summer meeting in Los Angeles.

“This year, I finally lost track of the ability to keep track of every programmer who’s in the scripted programming business.”

Viewers, along with network bosses, can all agree with Landgraf’s assessment: “This is simply too much television.”

Last year, he noted, the total number of original, scripted TV series on United States TV had swollen to an eye-popping 370 – and he predicted this year the number would probably exceed 400. Adding to the influx have been Netflix and Amazon, and in the season ahead, there will be a push by digital services such as Crackle.

With such a proliferation of viewing options, even good shows contribute to the problem as they “get in the way of the viewer finding the great ones”, Landgraf said. “This has had an enormous impact on everyone’s ability to cut through the clutter and create real buzz.”

However, the trend won’t last much longer, he warned, saying that next year will probably be the programming peak.

“We will begin to see declines coming the year after that and beyond,” he said. An across-the-board erosion in ratings will lead to this reduction in series – as well as outlets that provide them. “You take a fixed audience and divide it by 400-plus shows, it stands to reason their ratings will go down,” he said.

Meanwhile, viewers’ access to programmes has extended from the night a given episode is introduced to potentially any time after that, thanks to video-on-demand and digital platforms spreading out viewing by the audience over days and even months.

“You’re seeing a transformation in the mode that people are using to access television,” Landgraf added. With increasing viewership on apps or subscription to video-on-demand, “that’s putting a lot of pressure on linear channels and ratings”.

One way for a programmer to navigate these stormy waters: cultivate and rely on that network’s own brand identity, which can be a rallying point for viewers.

“Brand is a mission statement and a promise to viewers,” said Landgraf, whose FX brand represents shows that range from Louie and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia to American Horror Story, Fargo and The Bastard Executioner, an upcoming series from Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter. “FX is a brand viewers love and trust,” he said.

But while voicing confidence that broadcasters such as FX can prevail, Landgraf didn’t sugar-coat the struggles that lie ahead for his network group and others. “Managing through this transition is hard,” he said. Speaking for the fallout that will hit the TV business as a whole, he said: “It’s going to be a messy, inelegant process.”

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"They see their tomorrows slipping out of their reach. And though it seems to them that everything outside this reality is heaven, yet they do not want to go to that heaven. They stay, because they are afflicted with hope." - Mahmoud Darwish, to attendees of the Palestine Festival of Literature, 2008

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July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

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2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

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Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
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T20 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER

Results

UAE beat Nigeria by five wickets

Hong Kong beat Canada by 32 runs

Friday fixtures

10am, Tolerance Oval, Abu Dhabi – Ireland v Jersey

7.30pm, Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi – Canada v Oman


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