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With a Record 409 Scripted Series in 2015, Did TV Reach Its Peak?

94 percent more than just 6 years ago

Too. Much. TV. Getty Images

"Peak TV" has a name, and now it has a number: 409.

That's how many scripted series (drama, comedy and limited) aired on all broadcast, cable, streaming and OTT services in 2015, according to Julie Piepenkotter, evp of research for FX Networks. (Excluded from the tally: reality, news, sports, made-for-television movies, specials, daytime and children's programming.)

Even if you binge-watched one scripted season every day of the year, you wouldn't be able to get through all the available content.

"The unprecedented increase in the number of scripted series has reached a new milestone in 2015 with a record 409, nearly doubling the total in just the past six years," said Piepenkotter in a statement. "This was the third consecutive year that scripted series count has grown across each distribution platform—broadcast, basic and pay cable, streaming—led by significant gains in basic cable and digital services. This statistic is staggering and almost unimaginable from where they were a decade ago."

The number represents a 9 percent increase over 2014, which had 376 scripted series, and a staggering 94 percent jump since 2009 (211). During that six-year period, the number of scripted series on basic cable has jumped 174 percent from 66 to 181. 

         

       

Piepenkotter's research confirms FX Networks CEO John Landgraf's assertion to reporters in August that there is "simply too much television."

"We believe 2015 will easily blow through the 400 mark," Landgraf said at the time, adding that 2015 or 2016 "will represent peak TV in America, and that we'll begin to see declines coming the year after that and beyond."

With 409 shows to choose from, where does one even begin? Start with the best shows of 2015, and then move on to the top 10 new shows of the year

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