How can a certain part of television be free to access, get the most viewers, have mostly all of the notable live events throughout the year, and yet still lose? Well, ever since cable networks were introduced, there were problems that this caused for network television and these problems still persist. In a way, the most common and easily accessible part of television is also destined to keep losing.
One of the most notable ways network television loses is when it comes to award shows. Most of the award nominated shows are not on network television. Some aren’t even on television at all! Mostly cable shows get all the love from the Emmys and Golden Globes. And these are award shows that always air on network TV. (The Daytime Emmys, which are so irrelevant now, I’m not even sure that they still air on any network, much less network television, is something that I’m not sure if I care enough to know whether or not they nominate most network shows or not.) When all the critically acclaimed series are no longer on free TV, there is a problem as a result because of it.
So many people claim that nobody watches network TV. Obviously this is wrong because, except for maybe the CW network, whatever is shown on network television keeps getting the highest set of ratings that not even most cable networks could possibly compete with them on the same standards. Cable shows have far less ratings than whatever you see on network TV. And yet, there are tons of people who never watch network TV and always find it odd that there are people like me who do. I can’t understand why people would never watch anything on network TV, but there are so many buzz worthy shows not on network TV that nearly everyone talks about instead of, for example, the show Reign (which is doing tremendously terrible against many cable shows).
The main appeal of network television is the primetime shows that it airs. You can find primetime on cable. Sports air on network TV, but most of what people would want air on cable. Some channels are dedicated entirely to sports so why watch a game on FOX when ESPN is always going to give you a fix? There are 24 hour news channels, so why watch any local news since most important events will be on them before it will be on your local news? You can pay to watch movie channels instead of just hoping that sometimes they will air a certain movie on network TV. This leads into my next point:
There is a lack of censorship on cable channels. You can have uncensored swearing on most cable shows. Remember George Carlin’s Seven Dirty Words? You can say all of them, uncensored, without fear of problems from the FCC on cable. You can also have as much nudity as you want to on cable. Butts, boobs, vaginas, and penises are all allowed without blurs or bars covering the naked parts. This is all part of how it works and is different. There can be as much violence and gore as can possibly happen. You can’t do that on network TV. What you get for free comes with limitations.
Reruns don’t always happen the way they used to on network TV. Whatever they have is limited and subject to change. A lot of cable networks always air a lot of reruns. You could probably watch whatever you want to of NCIS on USA and you wouldn’t have to get them on DVD. Just find the channel you want and you can get reruns of the shows there. And while they might change, they are far more common and often then whatever local programming you’ll find on network TV.
Another problem with network TV is a lack of foreign shows on it. Sure, we get American remakes of foreign shows, but we don’t get unedited versions of foreign shows except for when we watch British shows on PBS. Cable can fix this problem by airing these shows on their own networks.
Well, that’s about it for me. I enjoy network TV a lot and will probably be happy never having access to cable TV, even if someone else would pay for it and continue my freeloader lifestyle. But the most easy to access part of TV is also the most likely to pale in comparison to whatever else might be on other networks. While I enjoy getting TV for free, it does come with many limitations and many shows that I’ll probably never be able to watch without borrowing it from someone else. While I’m okay with missing out, many would rather stop watching network TV in general and that’s why it’s destined to keep losing over and over again. It has the most ratings, but not much else to offer.