I recently saw Network, the 1976 film about a TV stations war for ratings directed by Sidney Lumet.
There are a lot of things I liked about it. The way issues of the day are saved from dating the movie by making them into grotesques (the Angela Davis character is so hardcore) and the fact that Faye Dunaway is in it for two. The other thing that struck me is that despite its subject matter (or perhaps because of it) it would be inconceivable for it to have been made for TV at the time.
Whereas today, it would be next to impossible to get the greenlight for a movie more concerned with exploring ideology than explosions. Ironically, the film has more in common with TV series like The Wire or The West Wing than what gets produced by Hollywood today. Perhaps with the success of The Social Network, this will change, but I doubt it.