In recent years, many basic cable networks who have generally avoided scripted series have been dabbling their toes into that field with mixed success. One network who has been all over the spectrum on that front is A&E.
Though mostly known for reality fare like “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” “Storage Wars” and “Steven Seagal: Lawman,” the network has also had some success with original scripted dramas including “Bates Motel,” “The Glades” and “Longmire”.
The latter in particular was a very solid performer with around 5-6 million viewers an episode. Nevertheless the network gave the contemporary western drama, their highest-rated scripted show, the chop the other month.
As the show wasn’t produced in-house, it’s not as big a profit earner as the network’s reality fare so they plan to replace it with more unscripted programming. To that affect, the network has now confirmed it has picked up “Donnie Loves Jenny,” a reality series about newlyweds Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy. Wahlberg produces the successful “Wahlburgers” series for A&E so the pickup isn’t a huge surprise.
For “Longmire” fans it’s something of a kick in the teeth, but the show’s creative consultant Craig Johnson tells Wyoming News that Warner Horizon is shopping around the show and expected to hear a verdict either way around Christmas.
Options on the cast expire in February so filming on a fourth season has to be underway before then. At present, “Bates Motel” is the sole scripted drama remaining on A&E.