Agreed. Why then has AMC been able to program two mass appeal hits with Mad Men and TWD? Also, I don't know if HBO's Game of Thrones is mass appeal but it gets a lot of critical attention. Likewise, The Sopranos was a mass appeal show.
Just taking the Mad Men
and Walking Dead
examples, those get good numbers for cable. The latter gets amazing
numbers for cable. WD gets good enough numbers for broadcast, actually. Mad Men
would be on the fence, depending on the network and timeslot.
Let's also not exaggerate "mass appeal" here. Mad Men
's recent finale got 2.7 million viewers. That's very respectable for cable, but absolutely not good enough for broadcast--especially with what it costs to produce.
had 12.4 million viewers for its finale, which is unusually high for a cable program, and would be a decent showing on broadcast (again, depending on network and timeslot.)
Other than Dancing with the Stars and American Idol I cannot think of any mass appeal show the networks have on currently.
Where is the new Seinfeld, Frasier, West Wing on broadcast TV?
Uhh, you do know that shows like Big Bang Theory
, Modern Family
, Grey's Anatomy
, New Girl
, Criminal Minds
, How I Met Your Mother
, etc. exist, right? Just because you aren't watching them doesn't mean they aren't popular.
BBT averages over 18 million viewers per episode. Seinfeld
was getting 38 million, on average, in its final season. Why the difference? You answered your own question: cable competition.
It's not that broadcast networks are putting out worse shows, it's that cable networks are putting out better ones. Have we all forgotten that cable TV used to be the land of endless re-runs and low-budget trash? Now, it competes much more heavily with broadcast, and is chipping away at broadcast's viewership. That doesn't mean broadcast suddenly sucks.
You're right. Comcast and Uverse should be more worried about these products per se than network tv.
Why should they be "worried"? They are quite diversified and basically make money whether broadcast and cable themselves are doing well or not.