‘Yellowstone’ Premiere Outrated Almost Everything Else On TV Last Week

Yellowstone drew more than 8 million viewers on Sunday. This gave the Kevin Costner-anchored drama an audience that was larger than any other primetime TV show last week. It is a rare accolade for a scripted cable program.

Taylor Sheridan, Kevin Costner and others attend the "Yellowstone” premiere at Paramount Pictures. It took place on June 11, 2018,... [+] 2018. Los Angeles, California. Getty Images for Paramount Netwo

The Key Facts

According to Nielsen data, Yellowstone's fourth season premiere attracted nearly 8.4 million viewers via cable network Paramount. Episode two, which aired right after, drew more than 7.8 million viewers. These two episodes outperformed every other primetime cable or broadcast television show last week. This excludes normally dominant live sports broadcasts like NBC’s Sunday Night Football (14.2 Million viewers), Fox’s World Series Game six (almost 14,000 million viewers) and ESPN’s Monday Night Football (12 million viewers). The Yellowstone episodes drew more viewers than other broadcast series such as NCIS, Young Sheldon, and The Voice. They also outpaced 60 Minutes, Fox News, and all of the Fox News shows. Paramount tried to create anticipation by airing Yellowstone Reruns last week. U.S.-based Google searches of Yellowstone rose slightly at the start of the week, before peaking during the Sunday Night premiere.

Surprising Fact

Recent weeks have seen a shift in the number of top-rated cable TV shows to be news broadcasts and programs that are sports-related, instead of scripted entertainment series such as Yellowstone. However, Hallmark Channel movies as well as unscripted TLC reality programs like 90 Day Fiance: Happily ever After occasionally attract large audiences to cable.

Important Background

Yellowstone, written by Taylor Sheridan and starring Costner stars in the struggles and conflicts of a Montana ranching clan. Since its 2018 debut, the show has gained traction. According to Paramount, last year's third season premiere had 4.2 million viewers. This is half the audience this year, but 76% more than its 2019 premiere. This year's Emmy nomination was for production design. However, HBO's Mare of Easttown won this category. The challenges faced by basic cable networks have slowed Yellowstone's growth. The streaming services are competing for viewers' attention, hastening a shift from pay TV services. Broadcasters have launched more expensive scripted shows via streaming platforms than cable channels last year, according to the Hollywood Reporter.


ViacomCBS, Paramount's owner, plans to launch several new shows created by Sheridan -- an actor and writer who also wrote the movie Hell or High Water (2016) -- via streaming service Paramount+. This includes a Yellowstone spinoff called1883. According to the Los Angeles Times, this partnership will capitalize on Yellowstone’s popularity even though streaming rights to the original show are owned by NBCUniversal-owned Peacock.

Important Quote

"The four Yellowstone premiere numbers are just one reason why we are delighted to deepen our relationships with [Sheridan]," Chris McCarthy (CEO of ViacomCBS subsidiary MTV Entertainment Group) stated in a statement.

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Paramount+ could be solved by Taylor Sheridan's "Yellowstone" franchise (Los Angeles Times).