Paramount Network’s ratings record-breaking drama series Yellowstone ended its second season in style, with its finale setting several new series highs in several categories, including total viewers, averaging 5.7 million viewers in Live+3, P18-34 (1.37 rating) and W18-49 (2.26).
The Kevin Costner-starring Yellowstone, from co-creator/executive producer Taylor Sheridan, ranks as the top cable series this summer in total viewers (5.1 million average); as well as the #1 scripted series in P18-49 (1.93 rating) and P25-54 (2.71 rating) in cable and broadcast. In Season 2, Yellowstone was up double digits from its highly rated first season. In addition to the record-breaking linear performance, Yellowstone also set a new series benchmark on digital with over 66 million views across platforms, up +145% vs. season one. (You can find detailed Season 2 ratings stats at the bottom of the story.)
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Paramount Network and TV Land President of Development and Production Keith Cox admits he was “pleasantly shocked” by Yellowstone‘s ratings ascend in Season 2. One person who was not surprised — Sheridan, who had been telling Cox all along that the show was “going to blow up in season 2.”
“What I love about it is, it has a very consistent, authentic voice; Taylor has written every episode, which is very rare,” Cox said.
Yellowstone has already been renewed for a third season, and Cox has seen several scripts. “It’s going to be great and even bigger than Season 2; I know it, feel it. It will happen,” he said.
Going into Season 3, do Sheridan and Costner have an end date in mind?
“There is a life span; Taylor has an ending, he knows how he wants to wrap the series with a satisfying ending for the family over many seasons,” Cox said.
He noted that he and Sheridan are already discussing how Season 4 would wrap and envisions Yellowstone to run for at least 6-7 seasons.
Yellowstone was the first ongoing series Cox bought at Paramount Network and it has become the recently rebranded Viacom network’s calling card, defining its drama brand.
That brand involves “big, broad compelling shows that are premium cable in tone,” Cox said, “very unique shows, beautifully written, very cinematic. We don’t want go to dark, we definitely want to be broad, tackling universal themes, we want to be smart about the character; character and sense of place are very important.”
The upcoming Paramount Network drama series that will try to measure up to the “high bar” set by Yellowstone, as Cox put it, include the darkly comedic 68 Whiskey, set in Afghanistan, from Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment; and Coyote starring Michael Chiklis, set on the American-Mexican border, from Michelle MacLaren. Paramount Network used the highly-rated Yellowstone finale to tease the two new shows.
The goal is for Paramount Network to air a big, high-octane drama series each quarter, with 68 Whiskey set to open 2020, followed by Coyote and Season 3 of Yellowstone. Also on Paramount Network’s upcoming series slate are Darren Star’s dramedy Emily In Paris, starring Lily Collins, slated to premiere next spring or summer; Sexy Beast, a series adaptation of the award-winning feature film; and Paradise Lost, a collaboration with Charter/Spectrum Originals, from Rodes Fishburne, Arika Lisanne Mittman and John Lee Hancock
Yellowstone Season 2 stats (all data Live+3)
● P18-49: 1.93 average season two rating, up +55% from season one
● M18-49: 1.96 average season two rating, up +49% from season one
● W18-49: 1.89 average season two rating, up +61% from season one
● P25-54: 2.71 average season two rating, up +49% from season one
● M25-54: 2.78 average season two rating, up +42% from season one
● W25-54: 2.65 average season two rating, up +57% from season one
● 5.1 million average Total Viewers, up +14% from season one
Yellowstone stars Costner as John Dutton, who controls the largest contiguous ranch in the United States. The series is co-created by Sheridan and John Linson. The cast also includes Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Cole Hauser, Kelsey Asbille, Brecken Merrill, Jefferson White, Danny Huston and Gil Birmingham. Neal McDonough joined the cast for season two. Yellowstone is co-produced by 101 Studios. Executive producers for Yellowstone are John Linson, Art Linson, Taylor Sheridan, Kevin Costner, David C. Glasser and Bob Yari.