The Duttons Are Back, and They’re Bigger Than Ever
Just when you thought the sun was setting on the Dutton family ranch, the hit western drama “Yellowstone” is experiencing a renaissance of sorts. Despite Kevin Costner confirming his exit and Paramount Network announcing the show’s end after Season 5, the Duttons are back in the saddle, thanks to an unexpected boost from CBS.
“I’m convinced this essentially unplanned boost in Yellowstone’s popularity goes a long way to balancing the impact of Costner’s impending exit,” says an industry insider.
The CBS Effect: New Viewers Galore
The show’s sudden surge in popularity isn’t just a fluke. Due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes halting development on the final episodes of Season 5, CBS found itself with a scheduling gap. Enter “Yellowstone,” which not only filled the void but also managed to attract a whole new audience.
“Following a research study that concluded 80% of CBS viewers had never watched Yellowstone, network execs made the move to bring it to network TV,” reports indicate.
The numbers speak for themselves. The Season 1 premiere on CBS raked in 6.83 million total viewers, with subsequent episodes maintaining strong numbers. What’s more, around half of that audience were newcomers to the series, a figure that dwarfs the show’s initial premiere stats on Paramount Network (2.8 million).
The Star Power Vacuum: Who’s Next?
While losing Kevin Costner is a blow, the show’s newfound popularity has opened doors to a galaxy of A-list talent. Taylor Sheridan, the show’s co-creator, has never had trouble attracting big names like Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, and Nicole Kidman. But now, the sky’s the limit.
“Now that CBS and Paramount execs know just how big the show can be across various platforms, don’t be so surprised if Yellowstone’s next spinoff stars Rick Moranis, Gene Hackman, Julia Roberts, Mark Harmon, Taylor Swift, The Rock, Bey and Hova, George W. Bush, Brie Larson, Elon Musk, Tom Cruise, Margot Robbie etc,” insiders speculate.
The Flip Side: New Fans, New Expectations
The influx of new viewers is a double-edged sword. While it’s great for the show’s longevity, it also means millions more will be disappointed to learn of Costner’s exit mid-Season 5. The news could reignite the negative sentiments that initially surrounded reports of Costner and Sheridan’s feuding.
“That’ll be new info to a lot of the people just tuning in, which could create something of an echo chamber as new complaints resurrect the same foul feelings shared in the spring,” warns a source.
The Final Frontier: What Lies Ahead?
As long as the final episodes of Season 5 deliver a satisfying conclusion, and the subsequent series or spinoffs continue to attract top-tier talent, “Yellowstone” seems poised to ride off into the sunset on a high note. And with all episodes available to stream on Peacock, there’s no reason not to join the millions of new fans tuning in every Sunday night on CBS.
So, whether you’re a longtime fan or a recent convert, one thing’s for sure: The Duttons aren’t going anywhere just yet, and their story is far from over.