A&E's decision to cancel Longmire has fans, critics, and journalists talking about older viewership and advertising assumptions.
The latest talk has Longmire being cancelled because viewers were "too old" for advertisers. Writer Annabelle Gurwitch wrote a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday arguing against this concept, proving that the Longmire debate has shifted into a much larger cultural discussion.
Gurwitch emphasized the "unexpected, unpredictable, whimsical" and often misguided purchasing habits of the over-50 set" which might surprise advertisers. Delving into her own spending patterns, Gurwitch argued the case that older viewers aren't just obsolete, they have money and interest to invest as they please.
"So, advertisers, please don't write us off…" she wrote in her conclusion. "I'm spending and I'd like to have something…to watch while I'm paying my credit card bills."
In response to the overwhelming insistence that Longmire fans shouldn't be "written off" because of age, A&E released a formal response to The Hollywood Reporter hoping to clarify the issue, and get themselves out of some hot water.
"The issue with Longmire is more about the ownership than the age of the audience," A&E declared. "The studio model is broken and networks just aren't able to monetize series that underperform in the key demos advertisers covet if they don't own a piece of it."
Advertisers have always had a stake in network television, but perhaps A&E's decision to cancel their highest-rated scripted series could suggest that the advertisers might just have too much power when it comes to content.
If Longmire does find a new home for Season 4, it will likely return with new episodes during the later half of 2014.