Why Longmire Was Canceled- Twice!
When the Longmire TV series first started it averaged over 6.5 million viewers an episode. That made it A&E's most-watched original series in history. But by the end of its third year, the ratings had dropped off to 3.5 million viewers per episode. Those numbers are more than just a little good (shows like Breaking Bad never topped 2 million viewers), but that's also quite a drop in viewership.
Longmire's first cancelation was a result of several variables. It relied heavily on older viewers- advertisers like younger demographics. Also, the show was being produced by an outside source, which made it more expensive. The network felt they could find something more profitable.
Longmire was then picked up by Netflix and rand for 3 more seasons. It continued with its great storytelling and ratings. So, why was it canceled again?
Once again, it's not a simple answer.
The show had gone through all of author Craig Johnson's books. There was discussion about letting show writers take over the storytelling from there or, perhaps, the story had run its course.
Production costs were still a little high.
Then came the issue of actor's contracts. It's not that the actors were asking for more. But it was not for certain that all of the actors would sign back on for another several years.
At the end of the TV series, the sheriff hangs up his star and retires. There was speculation that if another few seasons had come out we would have seen him work as an independent investigator. But we'll never know.
As far as storytelling goes, it was a good time to end the series. The stories were great, but they had reached an apex and there was not much else to be said. A good time to take a bow and thank the audience.