Hollywood remains determined to make more TV shows than anyone could possibly watch. According to the crack research team at FX Networks, a whopping 409 scripted comedies and dramas aired on cable, broadcast, and streaming outlets in 2015 — easily a record number, and nearly twice as many as aired during the first year of the Obama administration. Vulture charted this massive growth in programming last January, and FX boss John Landgraf coined a phrase for the phenom (“Peak TV”) back in August. While basic cable has driven most of the content boom during the ’00s and ’10s, streaming outlets — mostly Netflix, but also Amazon, Hulu, and Crackle — represented the largest growth segment this year, both on a percentage basis and in total new series. Streaming shows nearly doubled, jumping from 27 in 2014 to 44 in 2015. Basic cable expanded much more slowly: There were 181 shows in the category in 2015, up “only” 12 from 2014’s 169. Broadcast (147) and pay cable (37) were basically flat, with just two more shows each. Landgraf and other industryites have predicted a bubble and slowdown soon, but so far, it’s hard to see any sign of that on the horizon. As Vulture also noted earlier this year, Netflix is on track to debut nearly three dozen shows in 2015, while YouTube and other digital players have both signaled their intent to jump into series-streaming in a big way. At this point, even the Dunkin Donuts guy is wondering how the TV industry does it.
Jessica Jones, one of Netflix’s many new shows this year. Photo: Myles Aronowitz/Netflix