TV networks are the companies that distribute televisions shows. This includes the four major broadcasters – ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX. This also includes cable channels such as Lifetime, Food Network, CW, MTV, and SyFy. In addition to these channels you also have premium cable channels such as HBO, Showtime, Bravo, AMC and FX.
To make it confusing, however, you’ll often hear people say that a particular show is geared “for network”. This basically means that the show is meant for a broad audience and should be aired one of the five major broadcast networks – ABC, CBS, NBC, The CW or FOX. In contrast, one might say a show is a meant for cable which means that it’s meant for a more niche audience.