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Why Did ‘Yellowstone’ Move To a New Night After Originally Airing on Wednesdays?

by Courtney Blackann

Though “Yellowstone” famously airs on Sunday nights, it wasn’t always that way. If you were a fan back in 2018 when the first season dropped, you might remember that new episodes were released on Wednesday nights. However, that would soon change – and it turns out that sliding the drama series a few days down proved the difference between success and failure.

As it turns out, Chris McCarthy, the president and chief executive of ViacomCBS Media Networks, examined the show’s ratings and decided to make some changes in 2019. He followed other networks like HBO and Showtime. Because those networks generally aired their prime TV series on Sunday nights, McCarthy figured he’d do the same with “Yellowstone” over at Paramount Network.

This bolstered the “Yellowstone” audience. After starting small and slow, it grew to huge acclaim. And the “Yellowstone” following kept growing and growing. Season 3 began with a boom – and Taylor Sheridan’s western drama had a new home on Sunday evenings.

“We needed to do things that would signal that the show has coastal appeal,” McCarthy said. “It’s a misconception to think you can only play to the coasts or the center. The question is: How do you play to both?” 

And McCarthy isn’t in charge for no reason. His moves with the series proved to be the right ones. Further, following a huge season four finale, “Yellowstone” was also recently nominated for a SAG award for Best Ensemble in a Drama series.

How “Yellowstone” Impacted Actress Kelly Reilly

“Our strategy to franchise Yellowstone into a universe of series to fuel growth for Paramount+ is already exceeding expectations,” McCarthy said in a statement. “[Yellowstone co-creator Taylor Sheridan’s] 1883 and Mayor of Kingstown [are already] proving to be two of the [network’s] top titles.”

As the show continues to draw fans fully back into westerns, actress Kelly Reilly says when she came on board with the project, she had a gut reaction about her part.

“When I first read the pilot, I literally had a sort of gut reaction,” she says. “You know when you read a script, and you’re like ‘maybe I can see myself doing it or maybe I can’t.’ I always have this idea that if you feel there is another actor in your head who can play the part better than you — you probably shouldn’t do it. But, there are some that really take hold of you. There is a feeling of ‘I need to play this character.’ I don’t know why but that is what I felt with Beth.”

As it would happen, the gritty story devised by Taylor Sheridan has spurred the spinoffs “1883” and the upcoming “6666.” And we have a feeling that the franchise will only continue to grow.