Longmire is coming back, presumably sometime in 2016, for its fifth (and possibly final) season.
The reason it is “possibly” the final season is that the show has seemed like it was on borrowed time since A&E pulled the plug on it at the end of its double cliffhanger Season 3 finale.
For several months, the modern day western mystery-drama was in limbo until the streaming giant got a look at the 5.6 million average viewership and decided to sign the series up for another season.
Fans rejoiced, but the question remained: Why would A&E cancel a show that pulled in almost twice as many viewers as ratings darling WWE Monday Night Raw?
Digital Trends revealed an official statement from A&E when announcing that Netflix would be giving Longmire yet another season. The original quote came from the Wall Street Journal.
“We sell the shows to advertisers based on the demographics of 18-49 and 25-54, and the audience just wasn’t there,” according to A&E SVP Dan Silberman.
Most fans are not buying into it, nor is the author of the series of novels on which the series is based.
Craig Johnson, shortly after news broke that A&E would be canceling the series, pointed out on his Facebook that with adjusted DVR recordings, Longmire was “still holding steady at close to 6 million” viewers.
He also acknowledged that the show wasn’t pulling in the 18-49 demographic.
“We more than hold our own in the 25-50 demographic — now, I’m no television executive (thank goodness), but I don’t know of any 18-year-olds out there who are buying Dodge trucks,” Johnson said. “I still remember being told that Longmire pretty much sold itself, ‘Oh, we’ve got advertisers lined up to such an extent that we’re turning people away. So what gives?”
According to Johnson, A&E really wanted to own and produce its shows, “and the one it doesn’t own, the highest-rated scripted drama they’ve ever had — Longmire — is not theirs.”
Before closing out the rather lengthy post, Johnson speculated that A&E’s dropping of Longmire,“looks as if it may be the biggest PR disaster for the network,” noting that when news broke of the cancellation people were “actually contacting their cable and satellite providers and requesting that A&E be removed from their subscription packages.”
“They have had to hire on extra operators for the amount of complaints that have been registered,” he added.
A&E’s reasoning for dropping Longmire, especially in light of the fact that the show was performing well among the 25-50 demographic, doesn’t seem to add up.
In fact, as Digitial Times notes, the company said that the average viewer of Longmire was 60 years old.
If you’re a 35-year-old active on social media, that might come as a surprise, especially as you read all the posts from your fellow friends that are excited by the Season 5 renewal and who are still talking about Season 4’s cliffhanger.
Apparently, the owners of the show aren’t buying it, either. Neither did Netflix, or they wouldn’t have approved another year’s run of episodes.
Of course, there is the argument that Netflix does not have advertising on their programs, so they’re not beholden to the same rules as A&E, but Netflix is a company that is very data-driven, especially when it comes to how they select their programming.
If there’s one thing that has held true through all of its creative content decisions of late, it’s that where there is an audience, there is a will. And, with six million people clamoring for Season 5, it looks like that will found a way.
Are you ready for Longmire Season 5, readers? Got any theories as to what happens next for Walt? Share in the comments section.
[Image via A&E]