I do not understand the push for younger audiences on TV. No one likes when one of their favorite shows gets canceled, but this one just upsets me. Longmire averaged 5.6 million viewers an episode this season. It was A&E's 2nd highest rated show (best scripted show) and rated higher than other cable champions like Mad Men. Even Breaking Bad barely cracked the 2 million view mark for the first four seasons, before skyrocketing to 5 and 6 million viewer averages in the final year. So 5.6 millions seems great. Why isn't it? A&E had some thoughts on that. So do I.
According to an article from the Wall Street Journal (also linked to the picture, above right): "A&E's Mr. Silberman said the decision was specific to 'Longmire.' 'We gave it three seasons,' he said, adding, 'we genuinely loved the show but the audiences in the key demographics just weren't there.'"
Those key demos? 18-24 & 25-54. Longmire's audience had a median age of 60 (really?)...okay, so why not sell ads for the demos you had? None of those 5.6 million people have money to buy things? And SOME of them have to be in the 25-54 demo (half of them are under 60, by the definition of median). Okay, so no one over the age of 54 is worth anything to advertisers (really?). So maybe A&E could actually support and advertise the show to the demos it wanted. I'm pretty sure that I know lots of people in the 25-54 demo who would happily watch Katee Sackhoff, Bailey Chase, Lou Diamond Phillips, and Robert Taylor read them the phone book. As Longmire's EP Greer Shephard said, "It is hard for me to believe that you are not able to monetize one of your highest-rated shows."
Aside from the disappointment of seeing Longmire axed (though, I am hopeful that the producers can land the show elsewhere for a season 4), I am disappointed that in 20 years, what I watch won't matter to advertisers or networks. That I only have 20 good years of being a "key demo" when it comes to the ratings system that drives TV; a ratings system that is horribly outdated and is probably doing more to destroy traditional television that any viewing habits out there or new technologies.
As someone who would love to work in TV, I guess I'm going to have to learn to understand it.
And hope something changes.
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Thoughts. From my brain. Anything to do with how we tell stories and the stories we tell each other. Literally and figuratively.
Writer. Husband. Father. Effulgent dreamer. A Fightin' Irishman (@NDdotEDU '01). A playwriting Bobcat (MFA in Playwriting, @OhioU '13). I write plays. I'm a geek. I wanted to be an astronaut. I go places in my head.