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‘Yellowstone’ premiere sets record as creator explains billion-dollar risk behind success

The fifth season premiere of “Yellowstone” on Sunday set a new record.

The Paramount Network show drew 12.1 million live-plus-same day viewers marking the highest launch numbers the Western show has seen, according to fast national ratings from Nielsen.

The show is now also the top scripted series of 2022.

“After four seasons, the show’s massive audience base continues to impress with its latest season premiere becoming the most watched scripted television premiere of 2022,” Ashwin Navin, co-founder and CEO of Samba TV, said in a statement via The Hollywood Reporter.

‘YELLOWSTONE’ STAR COLE HAUSER SAYS KEVIN COSTNER TAUGHT HIM TO BE A ‘GENTLEMEN’ ON SET: ‘IT’S INSPIRING’

“‘Yellowstone’ continues to tap into the passions of a broad swath of viewers throughout the American Midwest hungry for Western-themed genres that have been largely underrepresented on television in recent years. Viewership significantly over-indexed for the season premiere within cities such as St. Louis, Cleveland and Pittsburgh and not surprisingly under-indexed in the largely coastal urban centers of San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.”

“Yellowstone” explores how John Dutton, played by Kevin Costner, is handling life as the governor of Montana and the unexpected challenges that role brings to his ranching family. The hit series, which has garnered surprising fans such as Drake, has been airing since 2018.

The show’s creator Taylor Sheridan recently spoke to The Atlantic about the success of the show. However, before the show’s success, Sheridan had to fight to keep the show the way he wanted it.

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The filmmaker told Viacom to have the series there would be no writers’ room, no notes on the show and that nobody would see an outline. The only thing Sheridan wanted from Viacom was the money.

“It’s going to cost $90–$100 million,” Sheridan recalled saying during a meeting. “You’re going to be writing a check for horses that’s $50–$75,000 a week.”

Paramount Network’s collaboration with Sheridan, which many have labeled the “Taylorverse,” will include nine shows, the outlet reported. The filmmaker is also the sole writer on most of them.

The series has helped launch the Western comeback in Hollywood.

After the Costner-led “Yellowstone” became a smash hit, the Paramount+ streaming service ordered the series “1932,” about the roots of the Dutton family. In February, the service also announced that the first prequel, “1883,” will be back for a second season. Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are among its stars.

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“I’m shooting over $1 billion worth of television shows,” Sheridan told the outlet. “That’s how much money they’ve trusted me with, and I have to go make more than that with the product I create. So yes, it’s a tremendous amount of responsibility … I’m aware of the opportunity, and so I do spread myself thin as a result.”

Sheridan noted he’s not sure how long he can sustain the workflow, but acknowledged the amount of creative freedom he has.

“I don’t know that I will ever have this creative freedom again,” he said. “Hopefully I can ride off into the sunset before something tanks.”

Fox News Digital’s Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report.

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