When a television show is consistently popular, its reward usually isn't getting canceled.
Based on author Craig Johnson's mystery books about Walt Longmire, a Wyoming county sheriff whose laconic personality belies his razor-sharp detective skills,
"Longmire" was A&E's second-most popular show behind the reality hit "Duck Dynasty," averaging 5.6 million viewers this season, according to Nielsen.
That is better than critical darlings "Mad Men" on AMC and "Justified" on FX.
Unfortunately for "Longmire," it has the wrong audience and the wrong owner.
A&E said it pulled the plug on "Longmire" because it appeals primarily to older viewers: the median age of the show's viewers is 60 versus 48 for the network as a whole
And it doesn't have an ownership stake in the show.
I think that last was the true reason.
How accurate are Nielson's ratings anymore in this digital age where shows can be seen on Amazon and a half-dozen other venues?
"Longmire's" fate is reflective of two growing trends in the television industry:
the obsession of advertisers with younger viewers and the desire of TV networks to own as much of their content as possible.
Last year, A&E also canceled "The Glades,"
a quirky crime drama with solid ratings that also had an older audience and was produced by a unit of 21st Century Fox.
Longmire was not a cynical show; it was designed for people who don't see their views and struggles represented.
So A&E is telling those nearing 50 and those over:
you no longer count.
It is an odd mind-set when Baby Boomers still have the most disposable income.
Alas, those of you out there in your mid-forties, you are about to become disposable yourselves.
DOES THIS MAKE SENSE TO YOU? WHAT DO YOU THINK?