Pat Clark

Scene & Heard: TV glut only going to get bigger

Just. Can’t. Keep. Up.

Looking at the fall lineup that’s been announced by the plethora of networks that now make up the television landscape leaves me nothing short of exhausted.

I haven’t even finished watching all the shows languishing on the DVR from the last fall season. In less than a month, there’s going to be a fresh crop of both favorite returnees and tantalizing new series to explore.

Who can keep up and still have a life?

OK, so I don’t have that much of a life, but there are other things that need doing. Going to work and making money to pay my monthly TV provider debts, for instance.

In reading about some of the new fare last week, a story popped up on the wires that assured I wasn’t the only TV lover with a big “L” on her forehead: The Associated Press reports that FX network CEO John Landgraf can’t keep up with all the shows inundating us, either.

“I long ago lost the ability to keep track of every scripted series,” Landgraf told TV critics during their annual tour. “This year, I finally lost track of the ability to keep track of every programmer who’s in the scripted programming business.”

“This is simply too much television,” he added.

Landgraf noted that last year the total of original scripted TV series had swollen to 370 – and he predicted this year the number likely would exceed 400, the AP story said. Adding to the influx have been streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.

Good grief, 400 TV shows? And that’s just the scripted series. Add in all the reality and competition shows vying for our attention and it’s enough to make a TV addict run outside to bury her remote, and then run back inside and bury her head.

The FX chief predicts the glut will lead to a ratings erosion, forcing shows to drop off – even really good and possibly great shows that will simply get lost in the massive airwaves crowd.

“You take a fixed audience and divide it by 400-plus shows, it stands to reason their ratings will go down,” Landgraf said.

Four hundred scripted TV shows? I need a nap.

Funny business

One of the summer TV shows that I am managing to stay on top of is NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” Love stand-up comedy. Love.

Adding to the fun is the fact that, like last season, the finalists and winner will hit the road on tour once the show is over – including a stop at the Turlock Community Theatre on Sept. 21.

Last year’s show in Turlock was a big hit, according to theater managing director Kit Casey; no doubt this year’s will be, as well.

“Last Comic Standing” airs Wednesday nights on NBC.

Oops, I said it again

All I have to do is passingly mention my lack of interest in HBO’s “Game of Thrones” to get folks riled. I said it again in a recent column about this year’s Emmy best drama nominees and, again, I got feedback.

Mostly, readers want me to legitimize my TV fandom by familiarizing myself with this critical and divisive darling.

I get it. “Game of Thrones” is a cultural touchstone; it only makes sense that a proclaimed TV-phile should be watching. Honestly, my only real excuse is that I don’t subscribe to HBO (see “TV provider debt” above).

But I also don’t have a burning interest in the show, which, admittedly, is odd, given its popularity, acclaim and – undoubtedly – great dramatic writing and acting.

So how’s this: At some point, I will give in and watch “Game of Thrones” – emphasis on “at some point.”

Because right now, 399 other shows are enough to worry about.

  Comments