Earlier in the day I linked to an Advertising Age story about how some cable networks were growing their original programming slates.  But TV week has a story about how FX is going about it, and its president John Landgraf, has a slightly different take.

FX may have been one of the first cable channels to air award-winning original scripted drama, but its president, John Landgraf, thinks other networks are tempting fate by trying to cultivate too many original shows.

The differing economics of cable and broadcast create risks for cable executives who get too enamored of originals, Mr. Landgraf said.

“I’m of a different opinion than some of my competitors, in that I think that if you try to compete with them in terms of volume, you’re inevitably going to suffer erosion in terms of quality,” he said.

“When was the last time you had a broadcast network that had eight original dramas on the air and you thought they were all good? If a broadcast network can’t do it, then I think a basic-cable network’s never going to be able to do it,” he said.

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This echoes a comment by “Kevin” on the post linking to the Ad Age story where he wrote:

I believe TNT is having six shows this summer (The Closer, Leverage, Hawthorne, Saving Grace, Raising The Bar and The Dylan McDermott Show?)

If that’s the case, this could do well, but I think people are giving cable’s “rise” too much credit. The fact that a station only has to come up with 3-6 shows is a perfect example of why a lot of cable shows are “better”. The major networks have what 30 shows a year? That’s a lot less time devoted to each series.

People speak about TNT mand USA’s rise, but those networks still have or recently had their weak links (Trust Me and The Starter Wife respectively). My point is that if you look at the 4 best shows on ABC, FOX, NBC etc. it’s pretty darn good as well.

Cable stations need to realize why people are adoring their shows. But the minute they try to become too big too fast will be the downfall.

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Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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