TCM Retains UK Rights To ‘Longmire’, Season 4 Eyed For Autumn Premiere

EXCLUSIVE: The former A&E original series Longmire is staying put in its long-time UK home. TCM UK continues to hold the first window UK broadcast rights to the Wyoming set cop drama starring Robert Taylor and Katee Sackhoff, TVWise can reveal.

Longmire follows Walt Longmire, the Sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming. Longmire is a widower who, following his wife’s death, lost interest in his job as Sheriff. But with the help of one of his deputies he re-commits to his job and decides to run for re-election, only to find that one of his own men is running against him. The drama series is produced by Warner Horizon Television and stars Robert Taylor (The Matrix), Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica), Lou Diamond Phillips (Stargate: Universe), Bailey Chase (Damages), Cassidy Freeman (Smallville) and Adam Bartley.

There had been some question as to whether or not the show would move to Netflix UK given that it was the U.S. arm of the streaming service who ordered the ten episode fourth season after Longmire was cancelled by A&E last year. After all, that was precisely what happened when Netflix (in partnership with AMC) helped revive The Killing for a third season (although, as TVWise reported at the time, that show’s UK broadcaster Channel 4 was about to drop The Killing due to low ratings, leading to the Netflix UK pick up).

TCM UK’s parent Turner UK continues to hold the rights thanks to a long-running multi-year agreement with international distributor Warner Bros. International Television Distribution. In fact, I’m told that part of the delay between the initial cancellation and the season four pick up at Netflix was WB’s insistence that the deal not effect international licensing agreements, which are worth millions of dollars to the studio. That is also why Netflix is only launching the fourth season of Longmire in four territories rather than the global roll-out given to shows developed internally at the streaming service such as House Of Cards and Marvel’s Daredevil.

Longmire has been an important title for TCM UK since they acquired it in 2013. The show was a top ratings performer in its first two seasons, smashing the slot average with average audiences of just under 100K viewers. To capitalise on its popularity, TCM UK aired the show’s third season in two-hour blocks on Saturdays and Sundays across five weeks – marking the first time they had programmed a first run drama outside the Sunday night 9pm slot. The move, which was designed to “increase exposure”, paid off, with the show posting marginal ratings gains in its third season.

That being the case, TCM UK has decided to fast-track Longmire, which has traditionally aired on the channel in the Spring. At present the plan is to launch the fourth season this Autumn, close behind the U.S. debut on Netflix, which is set for September 10th.