FX Networks CEO John Landgraf gave his usual “Peak TV” update during his executive session Friday at the Television Critics Association press tour, and rebranded the current “Golden Age” of TV to “The Gilded Age.”
“We respect how increasingly difficult it is to keep up with the insane volume of new and returning series,” he said during his opening remarks, telling the critics in the audience he needs them to help audiences navigate the massive amount of programming. “The number of new series I’ve seen announced just this week along, makes me suspect the Golden Age of television has now become the Gilded Age of television.”
Landgraf noted that so far this year, there have been 319 scripted shows on TV, up 5 percent (305) compared to the same time as last year. Basic cable is down 11 percent (114 to 102), while broadcast is down 5 percent (120 to 114). Meanwhile, streaming is up 46 percent from 52 to 76 and, premium cable rose 42 percent from 19 to 27.
For the non-history buffs: “The Gilded Age,” refers to a period of time between the 1870s and 1900, during the economic boom following the Civil War. However, the use of the term “Gilded Age” was also a pejorative to describe the time as one of materialistic excess and extreme poverty. It was initially coined by Mark Twain in his 1873 novel, “The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today.”
Landgraf has predicted the “Peak TV” bubble will soon burst, but Friday he took a softer tone. “My early estimates that peak TV would have peaked were wrong,” he continued. “It’s a ways away.”