Also called “broadcast TV” and “live TV,” Network TV refers to the traditional TV networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, etc.) that broadcast over the air without charge. The signals are picked up with an antenna, which today is considerably smaller than the roof antennas of years past. Network TV channels are also carried by cable companies and streaming services. Network TV does not include premium channels such as HBO, Starz, Cinemax and Showtime, all of which require subscriptions.
Network TV – Most Watched Networks
Yes, linear TV still exists, and it’s still watched by millions of viewers. But 2020 was another tipping point for traditional television, and it’s not just because of the pandemic. What has been steady viewership erosion for broadcast and cable went into overdrive this year, despite a pandemic that should have increased or at least stabilized viewership.
Network TV – Leading Cable News Networks
Leading Cable News Networks in Q4 2020, by Number of Primetime Viewers
As of the final quarter of 2020, Fox News was the most-watched cable news network in the United States and continues to do well in terms of its primetime audience, with around 3.78 million primetime viewers in that period. News consumption was high among U.S. audiences as viewers turned to their preferred networks for updates on the coronavirus pandemic and the death of George Floyd. Fox News viewers in the 25-54 demographic reached 725 thousand, whilst MSNBC had just 444 thousand. When looking at Fox News viewers compared to CNN, the two networks had a similar audience in the 25-54 demographic but the overall average was notably different. CNN has been losing viewers in recent years, although since the coronavirus outbreak has been pulling in a far larger audience than usual.
PREMIUM CABLE – HBO
HBO, which stands for “Home Box Office”, is a premium cable and satellite television network. Headquartered in New York City, the company was launched in 1972 and is owned by the multinational media conglomerate Time Warner. As of 2016, HBO had 134 million subscribers worldwide; about 49 percent of all HBO subscribers were located in the United States. HBO generated about five billion U.S. dollars from subscription revenue in 2016, a slightly increase from the 2015 figure, when the company reported 4.75 billion U.S. dollars in revenues.
Number of HBO and HBO Max Subscribers U.S. 2020
As of the third quarter of 2020, HBO and HBO Max had a combined 38 million subscribers in the United States, and 57 million globally.
HBO not only offers premium cable, but also has a wide range of services. HBO Now, for instance, is the over-the-top subscription video on the demand service offered. The service was launched by the television network in April 2015, and aims to compete with streaming providers such as Netflix and Hulu, once HBO Now is not associated with a television subscription, and is offered as a separate service. The number of HBO Now subscribers increased from 800 thousand in December 2015, a couple of months after its release, to five million in February 2018.
Along with HBO Now, the network also has another streaming platform. HBO Go is a streaming service, but requires a HBO channel subscription and the service is therefore targeted to existing customers. The network also offers HBO on Demand, a VoD service, and HBO HD, which broadcasts HBO’s content in high definition.
In terms of programming, HBO is known for motion pictures, original television series, sports events, such as boxing matches, documentaries, among others.
HBO finished with four Golden Globe Award wins from its 15 nominations, topping all cable networks and streaming services (the broadcast networks were shut out of this year’s nominations). Amazon Prime Video and Hulu were the only other distributors to win multiple awards with two each during NBC’s live awards telecast.
SHOWTIME SERIES TO BINGE
Your Honor on Showtime
A respected judge’s son is involved in a hit-and-run that leads to a high-stakes game of lies, deceit and impossible choices.
Bryan Cranston stars as a judge confronting his deepest convictions when his son is involved in a hit and run that embroils an organized crime family. He faces a series of impossible choices and discovers how far a father will go to save his son’s life.
When the teenaged son of a prominent New Orleans judge accidentally kills another teen in a hit-and-run, the judge urges him to turn himself in to the police, but changes his mind when he learns the victim was the son of a local mafia kingpin. T
The judge’s attempts to dispose of the evidence leads to tragic consequences for another teen.
City on a Hill on Showtime
City on a Hill
The series is set in Boston in the early 1990s when the city was rife with violent criminals, emboldened by local law enforcement agencies in which corruption, tribalism, and “taking it to the street” were the norm—until it all suddenly changed.
This is a fictional account of what was called the “Boston Miracle”. The change agent is District Attorney Decourcy Ward (Aldis Hodge), who comes from Brooklyn and forms an unlikely alliance with Jackie Rohr (Kevin Bacon), a corrupt yet venerated FBI veteran who is deeply invested in maintaining the status quo.
Together they take on a family of armored car robbers from Charlestown (Jonathan Tucker, Mark O’Brien, and Jimmy Cummings) in a case that grows to encompass Boston’s citywide criminal justice system.
HBO SERIES TO BINGE
An HBO Original Mare of Easton
Mare of Easton
A detective in a small Pennsylvania town investigates a local murder while trying to keep her life from falling apart.
As her life crumbles around her, a small-town Pennsylvania detective Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet) investigates a local murder.
The series explores the dark side of a close community and provides an authentic examination of how family and past tragedies can define our present.
Mare Sheehan (Kate Winslet) is infamous in Easttown, Pennsylvania, for having made a winning shot in a basketball game years ago (not unlike “Pistol” Pete from Parks & Recreation), and in the present day, she serves her town as a detective investigating a brutal murder that rocks the Easttown community.
Mare is played by Kate Winslet, and additional cast members include Sosie Bacon as Carrie Layden, Evan Peters as Detective Colin Zabel, David Denman as Frank Sheehan, and more.
The seven-episode limited series was created and written by Brad Ingelsby, and directed by The Leftovers director Craig Zobel.
The Undoing on HBO
A modern twist to a classical “whodunnit” tale, when the life of a wealthy New York therapist turns upside down after she and her family get involved with a murder case
From writer David E. Kelley and director Susanne Bier, the limited series focuses on Nicole Kidman’s Grace Fraser, a successful therapist, and her devoted husband, Jonathan (Hugh Grant), and their young son who attends an elite private school in New York City. A chasm opens in Grace’s seemingly perfect life: a violent death, a missing spouse, and a chain of terrible revelations.
Based on Jean Hanff Korelitz’s bestselling novel “You Should Have Known” and created by David E. Kelley, “The Undoing” stars Kidman as Grace Fraser, a New York City psychotherapist whose life unravels when her pediatric oncologist husband Jonathan [Grant] is accused of a gruesome murder. Noah Jupe co-stars as their son and Donald Sutherland plays Grace’s wealthy father.
True Detective on HBO
You may experience an intense amount of season-to-season whiplash while watching True Detective, but the show’s highs far outweigh its lows.
Season 1 is a MUST WATCH which is not only one of the best seasons of television ever made, but also helped kick off the trend of feature film directors coming in to helm an entire season’s worth of TV.
Season 1 – Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson
Season 1 of this extremely loosely connected anthology is still its high point, as the creative push and pull between writer Nic Pizzolatto and director Cary Fukunaga resulted in an evocative, engrossing, and spooky season-long detective story. Each season has a new central mystery, new lead detectives, and a new setting.
Season 2 – Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Vince Vaughn, and Taylor Kitch
The season’s story takes place in California and follows the interweaving stories of officers from three cooperating police departments; when California Highway Patrol officer and war veteran Paul Woodrugh (Kitsch) discovers the body of corrupt city manager Ben Caspere on the side of a highway, Vinci Police Department detective Raymond “Ray” Velcoro (Farrell) and Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division Sergeant Antigone “Ani” Bezzerides (McAdams) are called to assist in the following investigation.
Career criminal Francis “Frank” Semyon (Vaughn) attempts to legitimize his business with his wife Jordan (Reilly) by investing in a rail project overseen by Caspere, but loses his money when Caspere is killed, prompting him to start his own investigation.
Season 3 – Mahershala Ali, Stephen Dorff, and Carmen Ejogo
Season 3 of “True Detective” plays out in three separate time periods, telling the story of the 1980 disappearance of a young Arkansas boy and his sister, and a mystery that deepens over decades. Oscar winner Mahershala Ali stars as state police detective Wayne Hays, who recalls the days and weeks immediately following the crime, as well as developments in 1990, when he and his former partner, Roland West, were subpoenaed after a major break in the case. What started as a routine investigation becomes a long journey to dissect and make sense of the crime.
The Newsroom on HBO
Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom in 2012 signaled a strong return to television after a few years spent riding the post-West Wing high of success with The Social Network and Moneyball.
Led by talented thesp Jeff Daniels, who turns in a career-best performance as noted and notorious journalist Will McAvoy, and Emily Mortimer as his ex-fiancée and current producer MacKenzie McHale, The Newsroom follows Will and his team as they revive an ailing nightly news show while also tracking the interpersonal relationship dramas between the team members.
The Newsroom sings when it re-dramatizes major events of the period, like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010, while also proving to once again be fertile (and intriguing) ground for Sorkin’s rat-a-tat dialogue and pacing.
In Treatment on HBO
There’s a wonderfully stripped-down quality to this HBO half-hour drama series. Every episode is a therapy session, and the way that it aired would be the first four episodes of the week would be Dr. Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne) in private practice with different patience. At the end of the week, he would sit down for his own therapy session with his doctor and mentor, Dr. Gina Toll (Dianne Wiest).
When you’re watching an episode of In Treatment, you’re largely just watching two actors own the space. It’s all character and acting streamlined into a conversation where preconceived notions are challenged and you get really rich turns from not only Byrne and Wiest but the whole cast including Mia Wasikowska, Blair Underwood, Hope Davis, Alison Pill, Irrfan Khan, John Mahoney, and more.
Network TV – Paramount
Paramount Network is an American basic cable television channel owned by ViacomCBS. The network’s headquarters are located at the Paramount Pictures studio lot in Los Angeles.
ViacomCBS chose Paramount+ as the new name for the company’s CBS All Access streaming service in 2020.
The rebrand, which takes effect in early 2021, had been reported in recent weeks and executives have been talking about the revamp throughout this year. The official announcement of the shift didn’t offer many surprises apart from some notable original programming news on a series about the making of The Godfather and a spy show from Yellowstone co-creator Taylor Sheridan.
Showtime, the sister streaming service to CBS All Access, will continue to operate separately from Paramount+. Some form of bundling is likely down the line, though no plans have been set on that front. Most CBS All Access subscribers pay $6 a month for an ad-supported version, with others forking over $10 a month for an ad-free experience.
Together, the two services had 16.2 million subscribers as of the end of June. ViacomCBS has never broken out individual numbers for each but executives have said in recent years that they are similar in size. ViacomCBS also has a thriving free streaming service in Pluto TV, which has more than 26.5 million subscribers in the U.S. and several global territories.
Yellowstone on Paramount
A ranching family in Montana faces off against others encroaching on their land.
Oscar and Emmy winner Kevin Costner is the marquee attraction of the ensemble cast in this drama series, starring as the patriarch of a powerful, complicated family of ranchers. A sixth-generation homesteader and devoted father, John Dutton controls the largest contiguous ranch in the United States. He operates in a corrupt world where politicians are compromised by influential oil and lumber corporations and land grabs make developers billions. Amid shifting alliances, unsolved murders, open wounds, and hard-earned respect, Dutton’s property is in constant conflict with those it borders — an expanding town, an Indian reservation, and America’s first national park.