The networks need to figure out their niche. The cable channels are beating them in quality and viewership because they aren’t trying to appeal to the masses, they’re trying to appeal to their niche. AMC is the character driven drama network, they’ve learned that there’s a group of people that like stories that revolve around character development regardless of genre, that indeed Mad Men, Walking Dead, Breaking Bad and Hell on Wheels all can have the same core demographic even though on the surface they’re vastly different shows. TLC is the trainwreck lives channel, there’s an audience for people voluntarily living in hell (OK not much quality there, but they’ve got an audience). Every cable network has their primary niche and if you watch the shows you can figure it out. What’s ABC’s niche? NBC? We like to throw around the phrase “lowest common denominator” but that’s not a niche, that’s a desperate grab for big ratings. The mix of reality, drama and comedy all with vastly different audiences doesn’t work anymore. In a cable and internet world people now have the ability to hang out with their own kind at all times, until the networks know who their kind is they’ll keep bleeding.
I initially read that as "...they'll keep bleeping"
Which seems to be about half of what goes on for dialogue any more.
Several of those ‘cable’ channel programs are getting massive audiences, when compared to some of the regular network programs.
Many regular network programs struggle to get 3 million viewers. The most popular regular programming shows [excluding major sports] seldom get 20 million viewers; they tend to get 12 to 15 million viewers.