If all this variety is so good for us....
....then why is there hardly ever anything on?
How many cable channels are really airing anything of consequence?
Look at the lineups of most of even the major cable channels. TBS, TNT, USA all pride themselves on reruns of popular dramas and comedies. Outside of their original block some nights, FX is the same.
Most of the content on the Discovery networks is just shared among the channels. The stuff that runs on TLC runs on OWN, Destination America and ID, for example. The same examples exist all over, the episodes of Family Guy on TBS and Cartoon Network.
And that doesn't even touch all the movies. Almost every cable channel runs the same movies over and over again, all edited to hell and back. Watching an edited movie is like nails on a chalkboard.
If it wasn't for sports, I could very easily live without the rest. FX and AMC air pretty much the only original content worth watching outside of the premium networks.
All getting rid of these specialty networks would do is mean the content is further consolidated and there would be less reruns. It's not like they're spending the money to have original content for every channel as is.