If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the nonstop blizzard of new and returning TV shows out there (does The Romanoffs really exist?), there’s a pretty good reason for that.
According to an annual survey conducted by cable network FX, there was a record 495 scripted original series made available in 2018. That’s an increase of 85 percent since 2011. And that number doesn’t even count news shows, reality shows, or other unscripted titles.
The grand “Peak TV” trend does seem to be leveling off, however, as there were nearly as many scripted shows in 2017 (487).
But there was also a big sea change within the data this year. For the first time, the number of shows made by streaming companies (160) was higher than the number of shows made by either broadcast (146) or basic cable (144). All told, 32 percent of shows that aired this year were from online services rather than traditional outlets.
Broadcast network output was roughly steady for the year (which makes sense, as the number of hours needed to fill a primetime schedule doesn’t change), while pay cable showed a slight increase and basic cable showed a slight decrease.
The rise of online shows was dramatic, however, jumping 385 percent since 2014 as companies like Hulu, Amazon and Netflix have ramped up their output.
Here’s the chart for 2018: