The explosion of scripted television hit a new high in the US last year, topping 500 series for the first time, according to the latest estimate from basic cable channel FX.
Speaking at this week’s Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour in Los Angeles, FX Networks and FX Productions chairman John Landgraf reported that 532 drama, comedy and limited series aired in the US in 2019, a jump of 7% from the total in 2018.
Landgraf said that as the streaming revolution continued he expected the total to increase again this year, “perhaps substantially, which to me is bananas.” FX, he said, “takes the opposite approach and continues to focus on finding and launching the best shows possible one at a time.”
Now owned by Disney, FX will play its part in that revolution with the launch in March of ‘FX on Hulu’, a “branded hub” of the cable network’s shows on Hulu, the US streaming service now also controlled by Disney.
The hub will offer most current and past seasons of FX original series and exclusive offerings initially including Devs, from writer-director Alex Garland and the UK’s DNA Films, and Mrs America with Cate Blanchett.
With the US basic cable market now fully mature with around 85m subscribers, Landgraf said FX “has hit a ceiling.” By aggregating the network’s linear channels with Hulu’s streaming subscribers, FX on Hulu will “make the FX brand more valuable,” Landgraf argued, and allow it to “penetrate deeper into American culture.”