Point your peepers here and observe the proof, courtesy of Nielsen:
See the long term downward trend? Several million Americans who were regular TV viewers but aren't anymore can't be wrong.
This is what Hollywood reaps when it insults our intelligence as an audience, and then continues to do so for years on end. I think most Americans have been Survivor'd, CSI'd, and Law and Order'd to death with all the franchise spinoffs and lookalike imitator programming to care much about broadcast television programming anymore.
And don't tell me that all these viewers defected to cable channels. Even today, only a small amount of total cable entertainment programming is comprised of first run broadcasts, and most of the decent stuff therein is aired on premium channels. (I'm not counting 'unscripted' programs such as Trading Spaces and its innumerable clones, or Dog the Bounty Hunter and other such lowly junk. To call that stuff "entertainment" cheapens the value of that word.)
Think about that the next time Lifetime broadcasts another marathon of "Golden Girls" reruns you've already seen 47 times.
This is also true for films. A sizable number of films today are rehashes - sequels and franchise programmers, big budget versions of the old 1940s B movie cowboy-n'-injuns serials. When was the last time a film appeared that was worth enough for you to go and see first run in theaters, instead of waiting for it to appear at the local Blockbuster? (Sound of crickets chirping) I thought so.
That's why I'm thankful for the Internet, and Turner Classic Movies (which regrettably, the damn cable company here does not carry on regular cable, you have to buy the absurdly expensive digital package). And the last first run program on TV worth watching, which starts in about thirty minutes. So I'm jetting out of here.