FX Boss John Landgraf: Broadcast Nets Are ‘Beacons of Quality’ in TV’s ‘Platinum Age’

Cable chief praises competitors including HBO, Netflix and AMC

john landgraf tca
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FX CEO John Landgraf kicked off his TCA panel Saturday with a big shout-out to his competitors.

“The amount of quality in this platinum age of television is absolutely extraordinary,” Landgraf said. “HBO had another great year. Netflix also deserves a lot of credit for their growth and critical success this year, as does Amazon. Hulu, the other streaming brand, made great strides this year and is poised for its own breakthrough.”

Landgraf also praised his competitors in ad-supported cable and broadcast television.

“AMC continues to do great things, as do Comedy Central and Showtime, and the broadcast networks are still beacons of quality for most consumers,” he said. “I think USA deserves a big nod for the success of ‘Mr. Robot,’ as does Lifetime for ‘UnReal.’”

Landgraf also unveiled statistics based on 146 TV critics’ year-end best lists. FX and HBO each accounted for 15 percent of entries on those lists. Netflix was third at 13 percent. AMC was fourth at 9 percent.

The FX chief had less praise for his competitors when he was asked about the refusal of streaming services such as Netflix to release viewership data and numbers released Wednesday at TCA by NBC Research President Alan Wurtzel.

“Someone will figure out how to measure that viewership,” Landgraf said. He added, “I think those numbers that Alan Wurzel provided are directional more than anything else. I look at the methodology underlying it, and it doesn’t feel rigorous enough.”

Landgraf then compared Netflix’s lack of public viewing data to the debate over classified government documents leaked by Edward Snowden, saying that it makes sense for a certain amount of data related to national security to remain secret.

“I don’t know if I feel the same about television usage data,” he said.