Expect fewer new TV series in the coming years — Disney exec

A new era of spending cutbacks in Hollywood may finally be impacting the number of TV shows in production, according to John Landgraf, chairman of Walt Disney Co.’s FX content.

The industry released 599 adult-oriented, scripted TV shows last year, a 7% increase from 2021.

While last year’s was a record number, the output fell about 2% in the second half, according to the company’s data.

That’s a sign the top may have been reached, said Landgraf, who spoke at the industry’s Television Critics Association gathering in Pasadena, California, on Thursday.

“I think that 599 is the peak,” he said. “I don’t think you’ll see that number again. It’s going to start to come down.”

The executive behind such shows as American Horror Story and Atlanta, has been predicting a top for years, after a new generation of streaming services like Netflix Inc. released a deluge of content to win subscribers.

Lately, entertainment giants have been focusing more on profitability, with leaders such as Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. canceling shows and cutting back on productions.

Landraf said many things about the industry have changed as on-demand viewing from streaming services cuts into the traditional TV business. In the past, networks would spend 90% of their marketing budgets to promote the premiere episode of a show.

Now, the first episode accounts for half, or less, of the spending, as companies hold their marketing dollars until they can assess how online viewers react to a new series, he said.

FX has pivoted from operating cable-TV channels exclusively, to the point where many of its shows premiere on Disney’s Hulu streaming service.

“Every aspect of what we do has had to be restructured,” Landgraf said.

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Expect fewer new TV series in the coming years — Disney exec