A few years ago John Landgraf, president of FX, predicted we'd soon have 500 scripted series on the air. That seemed hard to believe. Imagine having 500 original series on the air — who would watch all that?
Last year we crested over 400 series and that seemed absurd. This year, the total reached 455. That's nearly 50 more than last year, making it seem likely we will hit the elusive 500 total, possible as soon as 2017.
Where is the growth coming? The answer is simple — it's streaming services. In 2015, the streaming services had 39 original series. In 2016, that number ballooned to 93. That is an incredible explosion, and one that accounts for the tremendous jump in the overall number of shows.
And, or course, that number won't come down any time soon. In fact, as early as next year there could be as many original streaming series as original series on cable. That's something that seemed impossible just a few years ago.
For TV fans, this is truly the Golden Age. There are hundreds of series to choose from, with many now aimed at serving niche audiences. The question is, how can anyone keep up with so many options. And, with so many original series, what will the quality be with the pool of writers, directors and actors stretched so thin.
Only time will tell.