“Longmire” was a Western crime drama focusing on Walt Longmire, the nonplussed sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. The show has been over for years now. But fans of the show were left wondering why Netflix canceled the Western after just six seasons.
Longmire Survived an Earlier Cancellation
First A&E decided to cancel the show in 2014 after Season 3. At the time, it was the highest-rated drama the network had ever carried, deepening the mystery as to why they’d cancel it.
“Longmire” showrunner Craig Johnson believed A&E canceled the show because it wanted to own and produce all the shows it airs, according to TVwriter.com.
“And the one it doesn’t own, the highest-rated scripted drama they’ve ever had– Longmire—is not theirs,” Johnson explained.
Johnson said network executives were trying to strong-arm Warner Brothers into selling them “Longmire.” When that didn’t work, they canceled the show.
The reasons that A&E executives gave for canceling the show were that ratings had dropped from 4.2 to 3.9 million, and that the show wasn’t doing well with the coveted 18-49 demographic.
Johnson pointed out that with adjusted DVR recordings, they were maintaining steady viewership at about 6 million. And he noted the show excelled in the 25-50 demographic.
He added that Warner and show producers had begun pitching the show to other networks.
Netflix Picked Up, Then Dropped, the Show
They must have succeeded eventually because then Netflix picked up “Longmire.” Not all of the characters made the leap from cable TV to Netflix. But the protagonists did, and the show earned glowing reviews.
However, it was not to last. Netflix revealed at the end of Season 5 that Season 6 would be the show’s last season. It aired in 2017.
Netflix executives know why they canceled the show, but they aren’t saying. And as What’s on Netflix pointed out, it could just be that the show had reached its natural endpoint. No show wants to jump the shark. And some – like “Seinfeld” – end before they have to in order to avoid that fate.
Moreover, the series drew its inspiration from Johnson’s Walt Longmire Mysteries series. And the TV show had already delved into most of the material from the books. The show was rapidly running out of ground to cover.