Longmire fans’ prayers may have been answered. I’ve learned that Netflix is deep in negotiations for a fourth season of the drama series. The news comes two and a half months after Longmire‘s surprise cancellation by A&E after three seasons. The axing triggered one of the biggest outpourings of fan support, with reaction ranging from shock and disbelief to anger and a call to arms in a massive save-the-show campaign.
Sources caution that negotiations between Netflix and Longmire producer Warner Horizon have been tricky, and there is a chance that a final agreement may not be reached, though there is a will on both sides and insiders are hopeful. If a deal closes, Season 4 of Longmire eyes a tentative March production start date.
After the cancellation call from A&E came in, Warner Horizon immediately launched efforts to find a new home for the series. It put together a detailed pitch highlighting Longmire’s performance and fan following as well as the producers’ creative plans for Season 4. Warner Horizon cast a wide net, though Netflix and Amazon were identified as primary targets from the get-go, with Netflix considered the most logical destination for the series as the streaming service already has the rights to the previous seasons as part of its multi-series streaming deal with Warner Bros.
Netflix was in a similar situation with another cancelled cable drama, The Killing. It commissioned a final season of the mystery drama on top of the existing seasons it had streaming rights to.
Subscription-based services are considered perfect for a show like Longmire, which has a large but somewhat older-skewing audience. Longmire, starring Robert Taylor and Katee Sackhoff, was A&E’s most-watched original scripted series of all time, averaging 5.6 million viewers in Season 3, a slight dip from Season 2’s nearly 6 million average despite a much weaker lead-in. Ad-supported networks depend heavily on advertisers, who are after younger audiences, practically dooming popular series like Longmire or NBC’s Harry’s Law whose viewership tends to be a little greyer.