Hollywood Made 532 TV Shows in 2019 and in 2020 We're Getting More

The glut of entertainment is reaching new highs. But how many TV shows can we sustain as a society before it crushes us? 

To find the straw that broke the camel's back, you had to really load that poor animal up. Well, ladies and gentlemen, we know society has now survived 532 shows in a single year, a 7% increase from the year before, and a helluva list of things to watch across networks, streamers, cable, and digital. 

But it does kind of make you wonder...how's your back feeling?

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532 shows...but are any of them good? 

We don't have a metric for that. We do know that critics get stretched thin trying to see EVERYTHING and the rest of us still have trouble picking a show to binge every Friday night. 

But with more streaming networks coming to the forefront and lots of timeslots needing to be filled traditionally, we're going to need more.  

The inherent problem with all this content is that sometimes the best stuff just gets lost. When's the last time you were telling a friend about a show they had never heard about? Or while scrolling you were able to pick something based on a tiny thumbnail? 

But the inherent problem with launching all these networks is that they need their own, specific content that makes them appealing to consumers. 

Yeah, this is a real Catch 22. But good news...

If you're a creator...writing jobs in TV are up 7%! The more shows, the more opportunity to sell your ideas and get them on the air. 

Of course, there are downsides. Instead of having 22 or 24 episode seasons, shows are getting much smaller runs. Now 6, 8, 10, and 12 episode seasons are much more common. If you only work on one show a year, you might not make enough money to survive, especially in Los Angeles. 

Only time will tell if we'll reach 600 shows a year or how the WGA will help improve writers' lives when it comes to staffing this insane amount of content. 

But for now, get watching. 

There are a ton of shows out there.      

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"with all this content is that sometimes the best stuff just gets lost"

Unlikely. Even if they might not receive enough PR around them, they eventually become cult hits if they're good.

The biggest danger is that now there is an oversaturation of what I call "non-indie, polished, commercial" content, which is like fast food. Nobody wants to eat their broccoli, they prefer a burger. So with all that polished content, indies are the ones who can't sell their works anymore, because true low budget indie works have a very specific look and feel, that fewer people find entertaining.

So the danger here is that working from outside the TV studio system will be much, much harder now. Distributors will start losing business, as more of these streaming services expand to other countries, and offer their content directly to the consumer.

And even if you self-publish, with the new lower Amazon streaming pay in 2020, it makes it less likely to recoup.

So yeah, we're in the Golden Age of TV, and in the Dark Ages of the indie filmmaking. The right business right now is to own a TV studio (and get orders from streamers to produce shows), not to be an independent producer.

But whatever goes up, it must come down. Eventually, around 2024, a big consolidation of streaming services will occur, and the bubble will burst. There's a window of just 5 years of many of these TV studios to become gazillionairs (since they now overcharge streamers for tv show productions, because there are fewer TV studios than demand requires).

January 10, 2020 at 3:14PM

Eugenia Loli
Filmmaker, illustrator, collage artist