Television is about advertising… NOT entertainment.
The product is YOU, the viewer.
The networks provide you to advertisers, grouped together usefully for the advertiser’s purposes.
The advertiser pays to get their carefully-crafted commercials in front of a lot of people that might accept the message and buy their product or service.
The networks pay production companies to create programming that gets a certain demographic to sit there and watch the commercials. The production company pays editors and talent. Sometimes, the network has their own editors, to make sure the quality is uniform across certain shows, like news programs.
So the advertisers pay the network to pay production companies to pay crew to create a show that gets the viewer to watch the network so they can see the advertisers’ commercials and buy their products or services and give them more money back than they spent on the commercials.
Meanwhile, cable companies get money for bringing the signal from the networks to your house, so they get to sell advertising on top of the advertising that’s embedded in the actual shows.
Ultimately, the product is *YOU*, and the goal is to get you to hand over your money in exchange for the entertainment of television.