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Peak TV May Finally Be Slowing Down: Here’s How Many Scripted Series Aired in 2016

The number of broadcast, cable and pay series declined in 2016 – but streaming offerings are up. Way up.

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Perhaps relief – or at least stability – is finally on the way for our nation’s overtaxed TV critics.

According to new FX Networks research, a record 455 scripted original series aired in 2016 across broadcast, cable, and streaming sources. That’s still a lot – but here’s a telling sign: For the first time since FX began compiling this chart, the combined number of scripted shows aired by broadcast, cable and pay TV outlets has actually decreased. It’s now streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon that are fueling TV’s growth – more than doubling their output (46 to 93) from last year.

READ MORE: FX’s John Landgraf: Peak TV Won’t Start to Decline Until 2018 or 2019

Overall, “this estimate reps a +8% increase over just last year (421 in 2015),” said Julie Piepenkotter, executive vice president, Research, FX Networks, “but an astonishing +71% increase over five years ago (266 in 2011) and +137% over a decade ago (192 in 2006).”

This summer, FX Networks boss John Landgraf revised his prediction that the peak would be in calendar year 2017 – with the possibility of growth continuing into 2018. “I don’t think I understood at this point last year that Netflix was going to try and compete with the entire MVPD system and all of its channels on a global basis rather than just, say, match the output of HBO,” he said.

But “by calendar 2019 at the latest,” he thought the bubble might deflate “perhaps from 500+ shows to 400 or a little less than that.”

Here’s this year’s chart, subject to change as FX uncovers some last-minute scripted series it might have missed.

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