I started watching A&E’s Longmire when it premiered in June 2012. I liked it so much, I sought out the book series the show is based on and have read them all, with the exception of a few of the short stories that I missed by being late to the party. This is a quality show, with excellent writing and acting. It’s also the highest rated scripted show on A&E. Last season ended with a cliffhanger of epic proportions, guaranteed to have fans tuning in for the premiere of the fourth season. So why did A&E cancel it?
To put it simply, A&E is run by idiots. They want to own all the shows they air, making those shows cheaper for the network. So any show they don’t own (The Glades and Longmire, to use recent examples) has gotten the axe in favor of cheap reality programming crap.
Fans are outraged and have mounted a massive online campaign on Twitter and Facebook to show A&E how dumb their decision to cancel the show was, and to help Longmire find a new network to call home. #LongLiveLongmire has gotten a lot of attention and shows no signs of slowing down. Author Craig Johnson, as well as the cast, have gotten involved in the campaign, encouraging fans to keep tweeting about Longmire to show other networks just how large and passionate the fan base is. Fans are even calling their cable providers and demanding that A&E be dropped from their programming lineup. Cancelling the show is going to end up costing A&E more in the long run than if they had renewed the show.
So what network would be a good fit for Longmire? I’ve seen several bandied about, such as FX, AMC, and USA, as well as Netflix or even Amazon.
My personal opinion is that FX would be a great fit. The network is known for its’ gritty, not-afraid-to-go-there programming. They’re also in the market for shows to replace a couple of series that are ending in the next six months (Sons of Anarchy and Justified). I would love to see FX grab Longmire. I think it would be a great addition to their lineup.
If FX bows out, AMC would probably be my next choice. They’re also in a situation of desperately needing original scripted programs to fill the vacancies left by several cancelled series. My major hesitation here is that Longmire could end right back in a situation where it gets little to no love from the network’s marketing department. Not only that, but the gritty western slot is currently filled by Hell On Wheels, which hasn’t done all that well the last couple of seasons. So I’m not entirely certain that AMC is the right fit.
USA is another network whose name has been mentioned. The only problem is that USA isn’t known for gritty drama. They’re more known for “dramedy”, and many of their current shows are suffering viewership losses for various reasons (Suits is getting beyond ridiculous, Covert Affairs is just over-the-top wrong, Royal Pains just rehashes the same things over and over, and White Collar is ending its run). They’re trying to up the drama factor by adding Graceland, Rush (which is supremely awful), and Satisfaction to their stable of shows, but of those, only Graceland is working. I just don’t think Longmire fits the profile of a USA show, unfortunately. But if they’re serious about a directional change, it could make a great addition.
Netflix or Amazon could also be a contender. The plus here would be that fans could access the entire season at once, instead of having to wait each week for a new episode. Netflix has seen great success with this platform (Orange is the New Black, House of Cards), and Amazon, while late to the game, is jumping in with both feet. I could see either one of these as a viable option for Longmire.
I’ve also seen pay networks like HBO mentioned. While Longmire could conceivably do well there, cutting it off from many fans probably isn’t the greatest move. Not everyone wants to subscribe to a network for just one show. Also, it seems like everything that isn’t Game of Thrones is getting lost in the shuffle over at HBO.
Regardless of where Longmire ends up, I’ll tune in to watch it. It would be a crying shame for a show this good to not get a chance to finish telling its stories. (Especially since season three ended in that cliffhanger!) Keep up the good work, Longmire Posse. Hopefully soon, I’ll be seeing you on the trail.