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Showtime president: "There may be too much good TV"

The theme song for the annual rollout of fall and winter television shows could have been that cowboy classic "Home on the Range," where "seldom is heard a discouraging word" (seldom, anyway, from the throngs of producers and stars pitching their shows), "and the skies are not cloudy all day" (and even if they were, who would know, since the 17 days of sessions hosted by a vast array of networks were sequestered in the Beverly Hilton's Grand Ballroom, otherwise the home of such glitzy affairs as the Golden Globes).

The marathon Television Critics Association meetings, which concluded Thursday, proved to be fun for the gathering of scores of TV critics and reporters. Until their fun became an endurance contest - both for the journalists and the networks and streaming services presenting.

"Lucky me, winning this coveted spot on Day 16 of your tour," cracked David Nevins as he met the reporters' weary eyes. "That's what I was hoping for!"

Nevins, who is president of Showtime Networks, came with a number of fine shows to promote. But wretched excess haunts the television landscape.

"There may be too much good TV," Nevins conceded, though quickly adding, "There's never enough great TV. And we're trying hard to make great TV."

His assessment came days after FX Networks boss John Landgraf forecast that, during 2015, the growing number of scripted series on the air is likely to surpass 400.

"I long ago lost the ability to keep track of every scripted TV series, as I know you do, even though we all do this for a living," he told the crowd. "But this year, I finally lost track of the ability to keep track of every programmer who is in the scripted programming business."

Landgraf was building on remarks delivered six months ago at the Winter TCA meeting: "The amount of competition is just literally insane," he said at the time.

Now he's predicting a course correction in the next year or two - a reversal of the escalating numbers of shows as well as the networks that provide them.

That was a rare discouraging word. Or, maybe, just a reality check.

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