ABC isn't doing that well. CBS is doing well for now, but their aging audience is going to get them eventually. They're all dinosaurs on the path to extinction, CBS is just the fattest dinosaur.
If you delete competition shows and sports from the equation, the situation is even more dire. Ad-supported TV can do well with "live" events - essentially, competitions (which is what the Oscars, American Idol and the SuperBowl all have in common) - because they are DVR proof so the ads get watched. Eventually, ad-supported TV will encompass competitions and news, while scripted fare moves over to the subscription model, either cable or streaming.
Broadcast is locked into their fate because they have too many vested interests they can't afford to offend. For networks, it's advertisers. Cable TV is in the same situation, their hands are tied. HBO would be foolish to offend cable/dish companies by offering HBOGo on the same basis as Netflix.
Netflix and Amazon have a clear playing field because they are the least locked into an archaic situation and they have the luxury of just doing what makes sense, such as spending a boatload on a premium series and then giving the audience the power to decide when they watch it, which judging from the comments all over the internet has made up for that Quiwkster debacle and then some. That's smart because right now, it's all about brand building and loyalty. That investment will pay off hugely in the long run.
The problems at NBC baffle me, except they have horrible acting and bland stories. How is that any different at CBS?
CBS is home to the most successful new show of the season, Elementary
. Its lead-in Person of Interest
is also doing well and is critically respected.
The CBS viewer is the least likely to have already abandoned broadcast for cable or streaming. NBC's audience is a lot more hip to new trends, so they're already gone. But it's a general trend that's going to hit everyone eventually. CBS's viewers can't live forever and the younger viewers have already abandoned broadcast.