The series, set in Wyoming, was surprisingly canceled by A&E on Aug. 28. Netflix, an online streaming service, announced Wednesday that it had negotiated a deal for a fourth season. Dedicated fans campaigned mightily to save the show.
“They're not going to let him go quite that easy,” author Craig Johnson, who created the “Longmire” character through his popular novels and short stories, told the Tribune last week. He serves as executive creative consultant to the series.
“Everything I hear is very positive about the show getting picked up if not by Netflix, by someone else,” Johnson had said.
Though the program and novels are set in a fictitious Wyoming county in the Big Horn Mountains, TV episodes were actually filmed in New Mexico.
Studio heads are looking at the New Mexico sets. “It certainly looks very promising,” Johnson had said.
"Very promising" turned to certainty on Wednesday afternoon, when Netflix officially announced it had ordered 10 new episodes of the series. They'll premiere sometime next year.
“When Warner Horizon Television came to us with the idea for a new season of Longmire, we were intrigued because the series is so unique, and consistently great," said Netflix Vice President of Original Content Cindy Holland in a statement. "We are thrilled to help continue Walt Longmire's story for his large and passionate following.”
Following the announcement, Johnson shared an old Mexican proverb on his Twitter page: "They tried to bury us. They didn't know we were seeds."
"YeeHaw!" tweeted Lou Diamond Phillips, one of the show's stars. "I have to say, the pick-up from Netflix would not have happened if not for the amazing support from our fans!"
"Thanks to all the fans who wouldn't let us go without a fight!" added Katee Sackhoff, another star, in a tweet.
The program was aired on A&E for three seasons, the last of those ending on a cliffhanger. Then the network gave “Longmire” the boot, maddening millions of fans worldwide.
That sparked a social media “tidal wave,” Johnson said. “It’s amazing to see this happen.”
Longmire’s fans are the 50ish crowd. “Those are people that know what they like,” Johnson said.
When A&E announced they were giving “Longmire” the ax, the network’s ratings dropped. With 6 million viewers tuning in when “Longmire” was shown, it seemed foolish to cut the sheriff from the network herd, Johnson said.
“Longmire” is not perfect, but he is the man wearing the white hat, his creator said. He’s the good guy emblematic of old-fashioned Western values. Millions of TV fans gravitated to the fictional sheriff.
“He’s somebody to emulate,” Johnson said.
If “Longmire” returns, production would likely start this spring with episodes airing in the summer. If Netflix delivers the show to computers, each episode could run one hour or more, Johnson said.
The sheriff’s posse deserves kudos for mobilizing via social media, he said. Johnson has helped promote that on his Facebook page and some members of the cast, including Robert Taylor, the Australian actor who plays “Longmire,” and Lou Diamond Phillips, who portrays “Henry Standing Bear,” have joined in an effort to keep the show alive.
“It’s just been extraordinary, absolutely extraordinary,” Johnson said.