‘Yellowstone’ Sets 2021 Records with 8 Million Viewers for Season 4 Premiere

by Jon D. B.

Yellowstone‘s Season 4 return on Paramount Network broke multiple records, shattering a longstanding feat held by Game of Thrones.

The wild success of Yellowstone was once a steady climb. Seasons 2 and 3 saw large increases in popularity over their successors, bolstering the Modern Western to become cable’s #1 watched drama. After Season 4’s Nov. 7 premiere, however, Yellowstone is now a bonified, record-smashing monster.

Numbers just released by Deadline cite Taylor Sheridan’s flagship series drawing a remarkable 8 million total viewers Sunday night. The total comes courtesy of live cable television, online cable streaming, and Same Day streaming services.

If that sounds like a tremendous amount of people watching a single episode of television, that’s because it is. The trade cites Season 4’s premiere viewership is up a staggering 104% over Season 3’s 2020 premiere of 4.2 million viewers. This makes the Yellowstone Season 4 premiere the most-watched episode of television since a similar-scoring episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead in 2018 (Nielsen data cites).

In doing so, Yellowstone has shattered a long-standing premiere record held by HBO’s Game of Thrones‘ own Season 4, for which 6.6 million viewers tuned in.

And this isn’t even where the numbers stop. Across four networks (Paramount Network telecasts and simulcasts on CMT, TV Land & Pop), Yellowstone‘s Season 4 premiere drew an unbelievable 9.5 million total viewers. This, too, is up 86% over Season 3’s premiere.

Yellowstone and the Rise of Taylor Sheridan

“Taylor has created a riveting world that our remarkable cast led by Kevin Costner brings to life in a way audiences can’t get enough of,” comments Chris McCarthy, President and CEO of MTV Entertainment Group for Deadline.

“The Yellowstone season four premiere numbers are just another reason why we are thrilled to deepen our relationship with Taylor… And capitalize on this tremendous momentum by building out the Yellowstone franchise together,” McCarthy continues. The franchise is already rearing onward with prequel 1883 and congruent 6666, both penned by Sheridan.

Indeed, the numbers don’t lie. Taylor Sheridan is set for a wildly fruitful (see: profitable) future with the entertainment group.

Bolstering his success with Yellowstone are the whopping ratings the Season 4 premiere holds with key adult demographics. The premiere’s ratings within the 18-49 and 25-54 groups see the highest demo ratings for any telecast of any network. This is for cable or broadcast in all of 2021.

Sheridan himself would show up for the Season 4 premiere as horsemaster Travis, too. Kevin Costner’s John Dutton enlists the breeder and showman to “spread the Yellowstone name” worldwide. In doing so, Travis heads to Texas with a whopping bankroll from the Dutton patriarch.

And this, Yellowstone fans, is how Texan spinoff 6666 will come into play. With these sort of numbers, we’re expecting nothing less than a mega-hit for it’s premiere, too.