That was the question that rocked the industry during the last Television Critics Association tour when it seems everyone with some connection to the small screen questioned its future.
The man who pulled the pin from this tropical hand grenade was FX Networks Chief, John Landgraf who said, there will be up to 400 original scripted series on U.S. television this year and he sees it rising over the next couple of years before this content bubble eventually bursts.
Interested in : The rise of Asian Television
As the executive in charge of cable networks FX home of Fargo, The Americans and The Bastard Executioner, you might think he is simply concerned about the growing amount of competition his channel faces. A common excuse for shows that have flopped is that they failed to make any noise in the crowded marketplace, so it’s natural that any broadcast exec should want to protect their own interests, with every new title and new channels commissioning original drama taking more of the audience’s attention away.Of course, ask producers, writers, directors or actors whether there’s too much television and you will get quite a different answer.
Speaking to many of them over the past few weeks, it’s a topic that is inevitably brought up – sometimes by the interviewee. So while every new show is another headache for a rival broadcaster, for the talent in front of and behind the camera, it’s another opportunity to get their story on air to play that career-defining role.
But what about the viewers? A quick glance at the rating for individual shows might suggest that overnight figures are falling, unless you happen to have The Walking Dead or Downton Abby on your schedule. But if ever there was a good time to have too much television, at least viewers are now equipped with the means to watch as much of it as they can. Thanks to catch-up, VoD platforms and DVRs, that great show you heard about but missed is never too far away.
The problem is, however, that largely thanks to social media, viewers are also more informed than ever about which are the hot shows and whether a new series is worth investing 6, 10, 13 or even 22 hours in. having filled up their DVR with a seemingly endless supply of dramas ready to watch on that rainy day, it’s far too easy to simply delete whole seasons because that’re heard disappointing reviews, or caught a spoiler, and there are always newer shows coming up.
Ultimately, however, it all comes down to story. Turn a great story into a TV show and it will find an audience. And when television is full of great stories, we shouldn’t complain there’s too much television, just that there’s not enough time to watch it all.
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