In a discussion at the Television Critics Association summer tour, John Landgraf, the CEO of FX Networks, said what a lot of us have probably been thinking the last few years: “This is simply too much television.” Right now 2015 is on track to produce over 400 scripted series which is a record number. And that’s not even counting all the “reality” series which seem to reproduce like cockroaches on their own. Because I write about what’s on television ever night I had noticed that there seemed to be far more TV shows premiering this year than in previous years but thought it might just be a trick of my memory. Turns out I was right! That’s nice to know.
Landgraf used the idea of too many shows to touch on something that we’ve all probably personally dealt with; shows that are cancelled just as they start to shine. He used the example of the Billy Crystal/Josh Gad series The Comedians, which he believes had a slow start before “brilliant” later episodes but admitted “you and the audience are just so overwhelmed right now by the sheer volume of TV shows that it’s very difficult to get you to take a second look at anything you’ve rejected.” I don’t know how true that is for the rest of you, but it’s definitely something I have a problem with. If a show doesn’t get me curious in the first episode or two, it’s incredibly unlikely that I’ll come back to it. There’s just too much else I’m watching (or that I should be watching).
He also touches on things like how advertising can change, the uneasy relationship his network has with Netflix, censorship in America, and how he thinks channels can survive as we move more towards on demand TV. It’s really a startlingly honest interview, and I’d definitely recommend taking a look if you’re curious about what the people in charge of TV are thinking about these days.