FX CEO John Landgraf updates his forecast on 'too much TV,' talks Netflix

The man who ignited the “too much television” discussion six months ago has an update to his thoughts on the state of television.

FX Chief Executive John Landgraf appeared before reporters Saturday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena, where he updated his earlier prediction that “2016 or 2017” is when we would reach “peak TV.”

Landgraf said he suspects the number of original TV series would see another increase in 2016.

“I don’t see a collapse but a contraction,” Landgraf said of what the TV glut will look like beyond that. “There still is going be a lot of TV for the foreseeable future.”

The network recently released research data that noted the number of original scripted series reached an all-time high in 2015 with 409. Landgraf said the number upon further inspection was closer to 412.

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“Counting TV shows is like counting lemmings,” he said. “You can’t even count the number of TV shows accurately. Hopefully they won’t run off a cliff and into an ocean.”

Landgraf added that the “level of labor it takes to actually watch enough television to have a sense of the whole ecosystem" is hard. The surplus of shows battling for viewer attention, coupled with shifting viewing habits, is becoming harder to manage.

Landgraf acknowledged FX’s linear ratings adversity. The network was down 13% in total viewers year-to-year. He also pointed out that FX was the first to stop reporting overnight ratings, a change other networks have implemented in recent months.

The cable executive also reiterated his view that Netflix should release the viewership data of its shows, referencing Edward Snowden when discussing the streaming giant’s close-to-the-chest approach its viewership numbers.

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“I can understand the debate of secrecy sparked by Edward Snowden,” Landgraf said. “There’s probably some data, some information that is a national security issue, so the apparatus can keep secret. I don’t feel the same way about TV data. It’s like sports scores; it should be public. It will be at some point.” 

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