If recent ratings for A&E’s new contemporary Western drama series Longmire are any indication, television audiences are looking westward again. The new original series – which launched June 3rd – matched its debut viewership with its second episode on June 10th. Data released this week show that each of the first two episodes was seen by 4.1 million viewers.
Based upon the Walt Longmire novel series created by Craig Johnson, the TV series stars Robert Taylor as Johnson’s Wyoming sheriff. The second episode saw Longmire interact with a traditional Mennonite community when a tragedy results during the rite of Rumspringa, a time when Mennonite youth leave their community to decide whether or not they wish to join the secular world.
Robert Taylor as Walt Longmire
TV Westerns were a burgeoning part of the growth of television in the 1950s and coincided with the so-called “Golden Age” of big screen Westerns during that decade. As demonstration of their popularity, during one week in March 1959, 8 of the top 10 prime-time television shows were Westerns. That may be difficult for a CSI-soaked culture to comprehend.
Yet the audience currently finding enjoyment in Longmire are not solely those who grew up with TV Westerns in the 1950s – the second episode saw its audience of adults 18-49 grow by 22% with a viewership of 1.2 million in that age group.
Longmire will run for a 10 episode first season Sunday nights on A&E – the third episode plays on June 17th.
(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)