Despite rumors and hearsay, turbulent delays and negotiations behind the scenes of Yellowstone Season 5 have already had a very real impact.
Yesterday, we heard from PUCK’s industry insider and Kevin Costner’s litigator, both in response to the actor’s purported power struggles with Yellowstone and franchise captain Taylor Sheridan. It’s a deafening topic of late, but one that will resolve the future of television’s most sought-after IP.
Regardless of who’s to blame, Yellowstone Season 5 has already shifted greatly as figureheads Costner and Sheridan attempt to come out on top. Season 5 was initially to film entirely in 2022, putting all 14 episodes in the can for split 2023 releases. As we know, this did not happen.
Instead, Yellowstone Season 5’s mid-season finale aired on New Year’s Day 2023. 1923 continued on from there, and is about to wrap up a full (fantastic) season as February rolls into March. Meanwhile, the Yellowstone cast has yet to even receive scripts for the second batch of episodes, let alone begin filming to finish out their own season.
What was once a two-portion, supersized season of television’s biggest show has been reduced to a Hollywood game of telephone. Grievances from Yellowstone cast & crew are now public, and those grievances were responsible for part two of Season 5 (or 5B) missing any sensical release window.
‘Yellowstone’ Season 5’s Second Half Taking Season 6 Window Amid ‘Chaotic’ Scheduling
As Tate Dutton’s Brecken Merrill told me while 5A was airing, his Yellowstone family was supposed to return for filming in March. That is no longer the case. Brecken was already feeling the strain of Yellowstone‘s “chaotic” schedule at the time, too.
“It was very chaotic,” he admitted from a desk in his California art school. “We didn’t know if we were going to have a break, we didn’t know when we were going to be back. So should I go back to school, or should I continue to be online? It was kind of a mess of everything. We were scrambling.”
The young actor’s insight, at the least, confirms how tumultuous Yellowstone has been for everyone involved. And the fallout was reaffirmed by PUCK’s Matthew Belloni on Tuesday.
“The 5B episodes, thanks to the delays, are now on track to shoot in summer and fall, and air in November,” Belloni cites.
This means the second-half of Yellowstone Season 5 will now take Season 6’s production window & release date and will premiere in Nov. 2023. If we’re lucky, which doesn’t even feel like the right word at this point.
There’s little to no chance of Paramount switching gears and re-branding 5B as Season 6, though. There’s only 6 episodes of that 14 episode order left. Likely, we’ll have a stunted second-half of Yellowstone Season 5 hitting our screens in the next year; that’s it. And there’s a very real chance those 6 episodes will be the last of the flagship series.
It’s a far cry from what we were promised exactly a year ago. “We want to double down on that momentum and not waste it,” Chris McCarthy, chief executive of Paramount Global (previously ViacomCBS), said in Feb. 2022 during a ViacomCBS presentation for investors.
“Specifically, ViacomCBS is expanding the next season of the most popular show on cable by 4 episodes. Yellowstone Season 5 will be 14 episodes as a result, but we’re not getting them all at once,” I wrote in our coverage at the time. And the pushback from audiences was already evident.
‘Yellowstone viewers worry this oversaturation of the property will be its death…’
“Yellowstone viewers worry this oversaturation of the property will be its death,” that article continues. “But so long as Sheridan can keep up the quality he’s famous for, there should be little reason to worry.”
The latter didn’t come to pass, sadly. Not for Yellowstone, anyway. While 1923 proves to be the best television of his career, his flagship series has suffered. And the more Yellowstone difficulties that come to light, the more this disparity in quality makes sense.
Truly, it may be time to put Yellowstone out to pasture. If that means more Sheridan spinoffs of 1883 and 1923‘s caliber, I’m all for it.
For a statement from Costner’s litigator as well as industry chatter on the matter, see yesterday’s full report here.