‘Yellowstone’s Paramount Network Will Not Rebrand to Movie Focus After Season 4’s Success

by Jon D. B.
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Influenced by Yellowstone Season 4‘s mammoth success, ViacomCBS has decided to nix plans to rebrand Paramount Network.

All the way back in September 2020,  Paramount announced they would be switching studio focus to “made for television films.” A rebrand to Paramount Movie Network was announced, with ViacomCBS promising to land “big-name stars” for each film. This was, no doubt, influenced by the early viewership success of Kevin Costner-led Yellowstone.

With Season 4 smashing cable viewership records across the board in 2021-2022, however, ViacomCBS is now reversing plans to rebrand their cable network.

The Details:

  • Parent company ViacomCBS originally planned to rebrand Paramount Network as Paramount Movie Network
  • PMN would’ve aired 52 original movies per year, alongside one miniseries and/or scripted series per quarter. This came under guidance of former EVP Meghan Hooper White.
  • White joined as Head of Original Movies and Limited Series in May 2020, but left ViacomCBS in spring 2021.
  • Deadline reports the COVID-19 pandemic has also altered these plans. ViacomCBS also cites Yellowstone Season 4’s runaway success as a reason to hold off entirely.

The COVID-19 pandemic’s continuation and the exit of EVP Meghan Hooper White in 2021 would factor heavily into Paramount’s reversal. Yet as Deadline reveals Jan. 24, however, the wild success of Yellowstone Season 4 would prove the final nail in the rebrand’s coffin.

It’s a ‘Yellowstone’ World: ViacomCBS’s ‘Taylor Sheridan Universe’ Far Exceeding Expectations

As streaming takes over entertainment, cable television continues a downward spiral. For every network except Paramount, that is. Through Yellowstone Season 4, Paramount Network would host the most-watched telecast on cable since The Walking Dead Season 8 premiere on AMC in October 2017. Over 10 million viewers tuned into the Season 4 finale, marking an 81% increase over the Season 3 finale.

But streaming remains at the forefront of ViacomCBS’s plans. With Paramount+ proving a success, too, the company is looking to focus on their “Taylor Sheridan Universe” through all available avenues. Paramount+ is seeing big numbers for both Yellowstone prequel 1883 and Sheridan’s other current hit, Mayor of Kingstown, on their streaming service.

Yellowstone itself was used to launch two new Sheridan series on Paramount+. Yellowstone prequel 1883 as well as Mayor of Kingstown both received linear airings on Paramount Network behind Yellowstone in addition to their streaming runs.

“We think that there is an opportunity to grow in both [linear and streaming]. We use linear platforms as a launch pad to help bring those massive audiences,” offers Chris McCarthy, President and CEO of ViacomCBS Media Networks and MTV Entertainment Studios, of the strategy.

For their cable offerings, this places all focus on Yellowstone for Paramount Network. It remains the only scripted drama series on the network, which typically airs Paramount’s feature films during primetime.

Yellowstone Season 4 would also devote its plot to setting up Sheridan’s next show for this universe, 6666. Whether that Texas-based Western will air on cable or streaming, however, is unknown.

Outsider.com