How 'Yellowstone' went from being the series that nobody wanted to the great television phenomenon of recent years

‘Yellowstone’ is to this day everything a television empire. Its fourth season has broken audience records, just a few weeks ago its prequel ‘1883’ was released and another spin-off titled ‘6666’ has already been confirmed. In addition, it is not for disposable that more series arrive within this universe created by Taylor Sheridan, which was on the verge of not even coming into being.

A project condemned to nothing?

The truth is that the ‘Yellowstone’ project was born in HBO with the idea that Robert Redford was its protagonist, but the thing came to nothing. It was then that The Weinstein Company gave it a try and noticed Kevin Costner to lead the future and they made him an offer that he could not refuse valued at $ 500,000 per episode – a figure that would later grow until he became one of the highest paid actors of all time on television.

They were serious, but the problem was that nobody was interested. It was then that, as it reveals Puck, Netflix, FX o TNT They could have stayed with the series, but they all passed. His high budget of 80 million dollars worked against him and everything indicated that the project was going to come to nothing.

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It was then that Viacom came to the rescue, as the details were being finalized so that SpikeTV make the transition to be called Paramount Network, movement announced at the end of September 2017. ‘Yellowstone’ caught their attention enough to overlook the uncooperative attitude of Sheridan, who began working on the series in 2013 after seeing his acting career not quite taking off, both due to when it was time to better explain the idea to them in person as saying that he was not going to take into account any note that the study passed him on the series. In fact, ‘Yellowstone’ was the first series on Paramount Network.

A slow but safe take off

Yellowstone Escena

However, the happy ending would be long in coming, as the Harvey Weinstein scandal led to The Weinstein Company being unable to meet the agreed payments. Fortunately, Paramount took control, I am looking for a new ally, where the same executive of The Weinstein Company who had opted for ‘Yellowstone’ at the time was already working, and he erased all presence of Harvey Weinstein’s company from the series. They didn’t want anything that could taint their premiere.

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The launch of ‘Yellowstone’ in the United States took place on June 20, 2018. The first season it worked well in audience -averaged 2.24 million viewers per episode- but without being anything especially striking. No streaming platform showed enough interest in it, so it remained unreleased that way for a while.

No limits to your success

Yellowstone Kevin Costner

It was in 2019 when Peacock showed interest in acquiring the streaming rights, a deal that would not close until January 2020. In the meantime, the second season premiered in summer 2019, improving the audience data of the first -Here the average following increased to 2.36 million viewers per episode.

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The agreement with Peacock closed in January 2020, but the first two seasons of the series were not available in streaming until July of that same year. By then, the third season of ‘Yellowstone’ had already premiered and interest in it had grown remarkably again. -the first episode of that season had been the most watched of the series until then, since no other had exceeded 3 million viewers and this one in particular exceeded the 4 million barrier-, achieving an average following grew to 3 , 91 million viewers per episode.

But nevertheless, its arrival in streaming was decisive for its growth to skyrocket. The third season became available in November 2020 and this is partly due to the audience records it has set with the fourth, where the data has literally doubled compared to the previous one, adding 7.83 million viewers per episode. Of course, Paramount had already seen before that they had a gold mine in their possession, announcing in February 2021 the realization of the prequel ‘1881’. The ‘Yellowstone’ empire was born.

And it is that everything related to its growth in audience is a little less than miraculous in a world in which no series already achieves something like that. It was already very rare years ago, where only great phenomena such as ‘The Walking Dead’ or ‘Game of Thrones’ were gaining audience year after year -the first peaked in the fifth season, while the second never stopped growing-, and now it’s almost impossible. He almost owed it to ‘Yellowstone’, while still being curious that for this it has been essential that it can be seen on Universal’s streaming platform and not on Paramount + …

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