Indeed, based on the 2014 upfronts, broadcast networks now seem to be taking their cues from cable, such as by trying shows with shorter runs than the typical 22-episode model. However, network television is struggling in a world of nimble upstarts only too willing to pick up network TV's discards (see my posts at http://goo.gl/JSzlD and http://goo.gl/tE0ur for a few examples).
Indeed, this week, Marketplace Radio featured a segment that suggested how one state, my home state of Connecticut, has claimed a space in this brave new world, being the production home to the soap opera reboots as well as NBC Sports' new home. That clip may be listened to below, or by visiting http://bit.ly/1871qf2:
To be sure, as Warren Littlefield, who was the former Chief of NBC during its heyday of "Must See TV" back in the late 1980s to the early 1990s (see my post featuring an interview with Mr. Littlefield at http://goo.gl/Vzbcn) told NPR that "Network is still looking for a larger tent, still looking to find something like a 'Modern Family' that appeals to adults and kids, audiences of all ages. That's still, at nearly 20 million people a week, that's a pretty broad-based hit that really far exceeds what's being watched on cable."
As my post about the recent soap opera reboots on Netflix (see my post at http://goo.gl/TQ1qP) prove, the economics differ in this new environment, making it feasible to make money on shows with only about one-sixth the viewers, or 500,000, in order to break even on them. You may listen to the "Studio 360" segment I referenced previously below, or by visiting its website at http://www.wnyc.org/story/293250-is-network-tv-dead-yet/:
I should also add that Warren Littlefield acknowledged that the era of big network's control over what we watch seems to be over, noting that today, its possible for people to make a television program themselves and post it online. He told Audie Cornish:
"Well, 200 channel choices in most homes certainly gives you the world of choice. And so slicing it, dicing it and offering someone their favorite thing - by the way, if it's not good enough, make it yourself and post it."
Some are doing just that.
For example, I cited one such example, notably Jane Espensen's gay-themed sitcom "Husbands" about two gay men who wake up married in Las Vegas which is distributed via YouTube (see my post on that at http://goo.gl/3Ic0S) which funded its second season via Kickstarter. Incidentally, NBC just cancelled a similarly-themed program called "The New Normal" which was co-created by Ryan Murphy of "Glee" (and "Nip/Tuck") fame, which got some attention for its premise of two gay men deciding to have a baby through a surrogate, a long with the termination of a higher-profile series about Broadway called "Smash" which was a personal favorite of NBC entertainment boss Bob Greenblatt - whose interest extended even to production design decisions, according to insiders (see news of the cancellations for both at http://lat.ms/10hZ2zM). Others would like to try rebooting old shows on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim (see http://goo.gl/aZkMS), but haven't managed to succeed ... yet, but time will tell.