Yellowstone Creator Taylor Sheridan Isn’t So Sure About the New Crop of TV Westerns

In the wake of Yellowstone becoming one of the biggest shows on TV, other networks are hopping on the western trend. See why Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan is skeptical.

By Daniel Trainor Apr 21, 2022 3:05 AMTags
Watch: Kevin Costner Talks Bigger Picture of "Yellowstone" at 2022 SAG Awards

Yellowstone is a TV juggernaut, but is there room for more to make a home on the range?

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but Taylor Sheridan isn't so sure. The creator of Yellowstone, the Paramount Network western starring Kevin Costner, isn't necessarily humbled by the influx of westerns on television after the success of the show. 

"I don't know that it's flattering, because I don't think they're doing it because Yellowstone is good," Sheridan told Variety. "They're doing it because 15 million people watch it. And they're like, ‘A lot of people watch westerns. Let's make westerns.'"

When Sheridan says "15 million people," he's barely exaggerating. According to Deadline, the January season four finale drew a total of 10.3 million viewers on Paramount and CMT. Yellowstone became the highest-rated series of 2021 across all networks in the coveted 18-49 and 25-54 demos. For reference, the March season finale of The Bachelor garnered 4.4 million viewers. 

To put it simply: a whole lotta people are watching Yellowstone. So, it makes sense that other networks are trying to capitalize.

2022 TV Premiere Dates

In December 2021, The CW launched Walker, a Walker, Texas Ranger reboot starring Supernatural alum Jared Padalecki. In April, Prime Video launched Outer Range starring Josh Brolin as "a rancher fighting for his land and family, who discovers an unfathomable mystery at the edge of Wyoming's wilderness."

Fox is also adapting a TV version of Hell or High Water, according to Variety. Sheridan directed the movie in 2016, though he's not involved in the adaptation.

Sheridan has his hands full with expanding the Yellowstone universe, which only continues to grow. 1883, the Paramount+ Yellowstone prequel series starring Tim McGraw and Faith Hill recently wrapped its first season. Following in its footsteps (bootmarks?) is 1932, another Yellowstone prequel series on Paramount+, which will chronicle "western expansion, Prohibition and the Great Depression," according to the streamer.

Paramount Network

Sheridan knows that his current output isn't realistic long-term.

"This volume of work is not sustainable for a long period of time," he said. "But it's an opportunity to tell stories the way I want to tell them with a creative freedom that just doesn't exist in this space. So I kind of have to take advantage of it."

Might as well strike while the iron is hot.

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