The Paramount Network’s previously announced rebrand as the Paramount Movie Network is on hold thanks to the massive success of the Kevin Costner series “Yellowstone” and its prequel, “1883,” TheWrap confirmed on Monday.
A source close to the network also cited ensuing pandemic delays as a reason for pausing production on the planned slate of 52 new movies a year.
“Yellowstone’s Season 4 finale hit an all-time high with 9.3 million total viewers in Live+Same Day numbers, a leap of 81% from the Season 3 finale. It also became the most-watched telecast on cable since “The Walking Dead” season opener on AMC in October 2017.
Former A&E Networks EVP Meghan Hooper White was hired in May 2020 to develop movies and miniseries for the reimagined network, and in September 2020 ViacomCBS reported it was moving away from unscripted series to focus on films.
At the time, Viacom CBS said it would be moving “Lip Sync Battle” and “Bar Rescue” to other channels and canceling “Ink Master” and other unscripted series. “Yellowstone” would remain as an “event series.”
In early 2021, however, the company moved “Ink Master” to its new streaming service Paramount+ (formerly called CBS All Access) instead of canceling it and later renewed “Bar Rescue” for its eighth season on Paramount Network.
The shift from movies to TV seems to have begun when Hooper White left the network in August 2021 and was clinched when the “Yellowstone” prequel “1883” launched to record ratings in December 2021.
Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Media Networks and MTV Entertainment Studios, said in November, “We think that there is an opportunity to grow in both [linear and streaming]. We use linear platforms as a launch pad to help bring those massive audiences.”
Reruns of “Yellowstone” currently air on NBCUniversal’s streaming site Peacock.
Deadline first reported the news.