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PASADENA, California – FX Networks President John Landgraf addressed Apple’s announcement that it will be producing original television shows during the Television Critics Association press tour on Thursday.
Earlier on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is taking meetings with Hollywood studios with the intention of producing original TV shows, including scripted programming, and movies by the end of 2017.
Its first original series is “Carpool Karaoke,” a half-hour interview series for Apple Music based on James Corden’s hit segment from CBS’s “The Late Late Show.”
Landgraf, who has been raising red flags about the continually growing amount of TV shows, aka “peak TV,” was surprisingly accepting of Apple’s announcement. In the past, he’s objected to the influx of programming from the tech industry, specifically Netflix. FX research shows that there were 454 scripted TV shows in 2016, a new record.
“There’s extraordinary amounts of resource and capital in Silicon Valley and they’re beginning to flow through Netflix and Amazon, and now others in the programming business, and that is creating an acceleration of this increased programming,” Landgraf said of Apple’s announcement.
“We welcome those competitors,” he continued. “Ultimately, what we’ve tried to do is identify it, label it, but we haven’t tried to use it as an excuse for a lack of performance. You can’t deny it’s happening. How good does a show have to be to be good enough for you to care about, to be relevant in this environment? The bar gets higher every year.”
But Landgraf said that he continues to worry about the new wave of TV shows and companies creating them. He compared that to the problem of “fake news” in which facts are treated as subjective. Landgraf refers to the growing amount of companies producing TV as “fragmentation.”
“There’s a lot of good that comes from fragmentation,” he explained. “We see new and diverse voices. And young, talented people who have never had an opportunity are getting an opportunity and great television is coming from that. We’re trying to be a part of that as much as possible. I think my worry of where we’re going as a culture is that I don’t like the fact that everyone has their own news and I hope that we don’t get to the point where everyone has their own individual television show.
“We want to make good commercial shows,” he continued. “We want to be able to be a part of the conversation in America. I worry when you have 500 shows, 600 shows, 700 scripted shows. By the way, if you take all the shows, I still worry about where we’re going through the democratization of the internet. I can see the fragmentation created by the web.”
Landgraf also said he’s “going out on a limb” and sticking to his prediction that 2018 will be the final year of peak TV and the number of scripted shows will decrease after that.