With so many fans watching Yellowstone on CBS, I’m confident Kevin Costner’s exit isn’t a disaster.

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The hit western drama Yellowstone was in turmoil in the first half of 2023, when a frustrated Kevin Costner announced his departure. Paramount Network also announced the flagship show will stop after Season 5. Even with all the impending Yellowstone series, the Oscar winner’s conflict with co-creator Taylor Sheridan could hinder the show’s rise to TV ratings dominance. Due to its Season 1 run on CBS, the Duttons are once again one of the most-watched families on TV this fall.
As such, I believe this unforeseen increase in Yellowstone’s popularity helps offset Costner’s upcoming departure and is ultimately good for the series and its viewers.

Why Yellowstone’s CBS Popularity Is Good, Despite Kevin Costner’s Leave
The WGA strike and SAG-AFTRA strike halted development for Yellowstone Season 5’s final episodes, but CBS needed a scheduling space, so the Sheridan-run drama got a primetime broadcast. Even though the episodes are doubled and sometimes air in delayed post-NFL time slots, they’re reaching new viewers who may not have had access to its Paramount Network linear run or a Peacock subscription to watch all the episodes. Not just fans revisit the slightly censored episodes.
After a study found that 80% of CBS viewers had never watched Yellowstone, network execs brought it to network TV. Variety reports that half of the 6.6 million viewers who tuned in for its extended Season 1 premiere were new to the series. So even that new audience is bigger than Yellowstone’s Paramount Network premiere (2.8 million). See the first three weeks of re-airing numbers below:

Outside of a sudden surge in popularity on Netflix, TV shows seldom manage to attract such a significant number of new viewers, which can only be good for the Yellowstone franchise’s future. Taylor Sheridan has had no trouble attracting top-tier talent for his programs — from Harrison Ford to Helen Mirren to Nicole Kidman to Sylvester Stallone — but now that he can demonstrate how successful the show can be across all TV mediums,

So, while losing Kevin Costner is an apparent loss for any entertainment product, his absence in the future is no longer the catastrophic setback that it may have been, say, going into Season 3. However, given that his departure announcement was tempered by reports of Matthew McConaughey directing a follow-up series that would immediately follow-up on Yellowstone’s central plot, the pieces were already in place to provide audiences with more A-list performers. Now that CBS and Paramount executives see how large the program can be across several platforms, the sky’s the limit for who may join in the coming years. Don’t be surprised if Rick Moranis, Gene Hackman, Julia Roberts, Mark Harmon, Taylor Swift, The Rock, Beyoncé, George W. Bush, Brie Larson, Elon Musk, Tom Cruise, Margot Robbie, and others appear in Yellowstone’s next spinoff.

However, on the other hand…

Why Kevin Costner’s Exit Might Still Be A Disaster Regardless of CBS’s popularity
The inverse of the aforementioned optimism is that Yellowstone has millions of brand new fans within its ranks. That’s obviously a good thing in general, but it means that millions more people will presumably continue watching the drama in the hopes of seeing Kevin Costner’s John Dutton rule the Paradise Valley roost for many years to come, only to discover that the forward momentum completely stalled in the middle of the fifth season.

With so many fans watching Yellowstone on CBS, I’m confident Kevin Costner’s exit isn’t a disaster.

Granted, I don’t believe this will have the same impact as all of the directly negative reaction that accompanied reports about Costner and Sheridan’s alleged animosity. However, given that many of us have had six months or so to deal with the reality of the flagship’s impending demise, that will be new information to a lot of people who are just tuning in, which could create something of an echo chamber as new complaints resurrect the same foul feelings shared in the spring.

In the end, I believe that a lot of the tumultuous feelings surrounding Kevin Costner’s departure will be washed away easily enough, as long as Season 5’s final episodes wrap things up in the most banging way possible, and as long as the next series that follows — whether it’s 1923 Season 2 or the 6666 spinoff — has an equally charismatic and badass lead actor in charge.

While waiting to see how things shake out, remember to join the millions of new viewers watching past episodes every Sunday night on CBS at 9:00 p.m. ET, with all four and a half seasons available to stream on Peacock.

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Yellowstone will be broadcast on CBS this fall, in an unexpected move. When will viewers be able to see Taylor Sheridan’s series on the network? Furthermore, what exactly is this Kevin Costner-led series about?
All of this is in response to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes that are now paralyzing Hollywood, particularly networks like CBS. All production of their biggest series, such as NCIS, has been paused due to the writers’ and actors’ strikes. Currently, Paramount is awaiting the completion of the series’ final episodes. Due to the simultaneous strikes, this has been postponed.

When Does Yellowstone Premiere On CBS?
Yellowstone Season 1, Episode 1 will air on CBS in the fall at 9 p.m. Eastern. The show will air in the same time slot as The Equalizer. This will occur following a doubleheader of NFL football games. CBS will play 90 minutes of their long-running series 60 Minutes on nights when there is only one football game. They’ll then show a double dose of Yellowstone. In any case, Big Brother follows Yellowstone at 10 p.m. Eastern.
Although Yellowstone has had the most viewership on cable television, many people have yet to experience this dramatic series. The Dutton family, led by patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner), is the subject of the series. They own Montana’s largest ranch. It shares a boundary with Yellowstone National Park and the Broken Rock Indian Reservation.

This drama follows John Dutton as he strives to maintain the family business running in the traditional manner, unable to adapt to the new world.


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