Yellowstone Creator Taylor Sheridan Could End The Writers Strike

Taylor Sheridan is in a unique situation as both the creator and writer of Yellowstone and the mastermind could end the writers strike.

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan is one of Hollywood’s most unique success stories. The filmmaker writes every episode of the Western drama and its spin-off series on his own, which means production doesn’t begin until his scripts are ready. With the WGA writers strike in progress, the industry is waiting to see if the 52-year-old could help end the negotiations impasse.

From the point of solidarity, writers would hope Taylor Sheridan would join the picket line since he has considerable influence in the industry. Not only is he the driving force behind Yellowstone, but he is also working on Special Ops: Lioness for Paramount+. So if he does decide to strike, it could force the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to step up negotiations with the WGA.

Because Paramount+ relies on Taylor Sheridan for its scripts, his decision could end the strike. According to Slash Film, the Yellowstone creator has not voiced his support for the WGA strike. But that could be due to the situation between the network and Kevin Costner, who may not be returning for the second half of season 5.

yellowstone kevin costner

Unfortunately, Taylor Sheridan may not have the leverage to get Costner back without the help of Paramount executives. According to Puck, the actor wants a say about how his character, John Dutton, exits the series. Additionally, he allegedly only wants to spend a week working on Yellowstone as his new passion project, Horizon, demands most of his time.

That means Taylor Sheridan probably hasn’t completed the scripts for the remaining episodes of Yellowstone. While it’s unlikely the Yellowstone writer could single-handedly end the strike, his involvement would get the attention of the AMPTP. It might be unfair to place this responsibility on the filmmaker. But his fellow writers are desperate.

The Writers Guild of America strike is ongoing after negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers fell through. The WGA is calling for higher residual pay for streaming programs that have higher viewership rather than the existing model that pays a standard rate regardless of a show’s success.

The strike has resulted in picketing and the shutdown of productions in New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. No new labor talks are scheduled between the WGA and the AMPTP, and observers say the strike could last for months. Meanwhile, Yellowstone will officially end after season 5. The news comes after months of speculation that Kevin Costner would leave the series.

An untitled sequel series is set to take its place and will debut on Paramount in December. Plot and casting details remain under wraps, but Matthew McConaughey was previously attached to star. Speaking about the end of Yellowstone, President and CEO of Showtime and MTV Entertainment Studios Chris McCarthy said the popular Western has been the cornerstone on which an entire universe of shows was launched.

The studio is confident that its new offering will be a success. “I am confident [the] sequel will be another big hit, thanks to the brilliant creative mind of Taylor Sheridan,” he said via Variety.