Kevin Costner might once have been most recognized as the man who built the baseball field on a corn farm, the man who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, or even the man who was once Whitney Houston’s bodyguard. But nowadays, the actor might be best known as the grizzled patriarch of the hit TV series, Yellowstone. The seasoned actor has helped escalate the Paramount Network show to immense heights, and as new ratings come in, Yellowstone seems to have broken another impressive record.
According to the Nielson Live +3 ratings, Yellowstone’s season 4 premiere drew in a record number of viewers. The Sunday night premiere drew in a grand total of 14.7 million viewers, including the encores, on the premier night alone. This included viewerships across Paramount Network and its three simulcasts, CMT, Pop, and TV Land. These impressive figures boasted a 66% increase for the show’s season 3 premiere last year. President and CEO of MTV Entertainment Group, Chris McCarthy, spoke about the astonishing success Yellowstone has brought to the network, stating, “Taylor has created a cinematic experience that our remarkable cast led by Kevin Costner brings to life in a way audiences can’t get enough of and we are excited to deepen our relationship with him and capitalize on this tremendous momentum by building out the Yellowstone franchise together.”
And as viewership for the Kevin Costner-led neo-western series continues to rise, so do its ratings. Nielsen reported a 4.19 rating for Yellowstone’s season 4 premiere in adults ranging 18-49, up 64% from the season 3 premiere of 2.56. These ratings are monumental for a cable tv series in an era where streaming series rule. Not only is Yellowstone currently the top series across all television including broadcast, cable, and premium networks, but Sunday’s opener is now the most-watched season premiere on cable since The Walking Dead in 2017.
The impressive ratings Yellowstone has received in just a short few weeks have likely been helped by a number of things. To start, the series benefitted from a promotional push across Paramount’s parent company, MTV Entertainment Group, which aired promotions for season 4 across MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, TV Land, and Logo. Likewise, Pluto aired numerous Yellowstone catch-up marathons leading up to the season 4 premiere. Plus, promoting a show leading with Dances With Wolves Kevin Costner surely has brought in more viewerships over time.
Amid the cowboy craze galloping around Yellowstone, Paramount Network is once again attempting to capitalize on the series’ success by bringing co-creators Taylor Sheridan and Hugh Dillon back for more with a new series based on another American monument headed to the network’s exclusive streaming service. Mayor of Kingstown premiered Sunday Night exclusively to Paramount Plus. The series is a contemporary drama following the McLusky family, the owners of for-profit prisons in Kingstown, MI. Following in the footsteps of leading a show with a famous face of the likes of Kevin Costner, Mayor of Kingstown will be led by Jeremy Renner.
Likewise, the network will surely look to the anticipated Yellowstone 1883 to mitigate the vast viewership from Yellowstone to its upcoming prequel, set to debut exclusively on Paramount Plus on December 19, 2021. Although Kevin Costner is not slated for the prequel, the network will bring more familiar faces to boost viewerships with the addition of Tim McGraw, Sam Elliot, and Faith Hill.