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You Won't Believe How Many Scripted Shows Were on TV This Year

Got a number in your head? Think higher

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Tim Surette

Did you know that there was a show called Mary + Jane on this year? What about When Calls the Heart? Or Chosen? If not, don't worry. I get paid to know this stuff and even I had no idea these were actual shows in 2016, because there is simply way too much television out there these days.

But how much? The eggheads over at FX Media Research did the dirty work and came up with an unofficial count of all the scripted series that aired in 2016 either on television or online, and it's a staggering amount. Ready? Here it is:

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There were 455 scripted series that aired in 2016.

Wrap your head around that number for a few moments. You could watch one episode of a different show every day for a year and still need to go into April of the following year to finish seeing all of them.

Peak TV

FX Media Research


The 455 shows in 2016 is up from 2015, when a whopping 421 scripted shows aired. The increase comes largely from online and streaming networks -- such as Netflix and Hulu as well as smaller players like Crackle -- which jumped from 46 original scripted series in 2015 to 93 in 2016. All other avenues -- network, basic cable and pay cable -- were actually down slightly, which is statistical proof that the television industry is headed through wi-fi rather than over-the-air antennas and set-top boxes. Pick your stocks accordingly.

The phenomena of having more TV than we know what to do with is called "Peak TV," a term coined by FX president John Landgraf back in August of last year. And though the number of scripted originals continues to rise dramatically, Landgraf then also predicted that we'd see a decline in scripted originals soon. But given the chart above, it looks like even he underestimated the industry and a decline isn't as close as he thought. Let's shoot for 500 in '17! And while we're at it, can we get a bigger DVR?

How many shows did you watch in 2016?