‘1883’ Creator Taylor Sheridan Says He Hasn’t Slept in 7 Months

by Suzanne Halliburton
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

1883 creator Taylor Sheridan might be suffering from stress-induced insomnia. That’s what the pressure of creating a show in a compressed amount of time does to a writer/director.

Sheridan, the mastermind behind Yellowstone, already had written the pilot episode of 1883, the prequel to the popular modern western on Paramount. And CBS Viacom executives wanted the show to help launch Paramount+, the network’s rebranded streaming service. Problem was, Sheridan already had Mayor of Kingstown in the works, along with another show in another country.

But one CBS Viacom executive was emphatic after reading the 1883 pilot. This was back in April. He got Sheridan on the phone. The genius behind Yellowstone described the conversation last weekend. The cast and crew celebrated the premiere of the first two episodes at a swanky hotel in Las Vegas. And during a question and answer session with the media, Sheridan changed up a curse word to make it kid friendly.

He said the executive told him: “Look, we are betting the house on this, and we are trucked if you don’t do it. We’re paying you a lot of trucking money, so you trucking figure it out!’”

Like we said, no pressure there. Sheridan told the executive: “It was impossible to have something air in seven months that wasn’t cast, with no locations, and no other scripts.”

Then, Sheridan laid out the best part of the anecdote:

“I said this first episode I’ve written is the best thing I’ve ever written. If I can’t have the time to make it right, I need everything else. I need the toys, I need the cast, I need the team. You will need to trust me, and it’s going to hurt. And I did not hear the word no, at all.”

Yes, We Understand Why Sheridan Might Be Skipping Sleep

And as a point of emphasis, the 1883 creator said he hadn’t slept in seven months. Oh, my. He’s probably beyond bleary eyed. And now he’s overseeing the production of 6666, a Yellowstone spinoff being shot in the Texas Panhandle. While the Yellowstone prequel premiered, privately, the masses won’t see it until Sunday. That’s when Paramount+ drops the first two episodes for viewing.

The series centers on the lives of James and Margaret Dutton, who are the great grandparents of Kevin Costner’s John Dutton. Tim McGraw plays James, a Civil War vet who is trying to discover an untainted part of the country. Faith Hill, McGraw’s wife, portrays Margaret. The two have two children on the show. Meanwhile, Sam Elliott is Shea Brennan, who helps guide the Duttons and the rest of the settlers from Texas towards Montana.

McGraw, the country superstar, also mentioned sleep while talking the 1883 premiere in an earlier interview with Deadline. He had to change up his sleep schedule a ton, he said. So he’s looking forward to sleeping in.

“I’m a musician,” McGraw said, “and I’ve seen more sunrises in the last four months than I care to see for the rest of my life. I guess I’ve seen a few sunrises as a musician, but those were self-inflicted sunrises. I don’t want to see any more sunrises for a while.”

We’re thinking the sunrise on 1883 will be beautiful.