Yellowstone continues to defy gravity — and an industrywide decline in linear ratings. The Season 4 finale of Paramount Network’s hugely popular drama starring Oscar winner Kevin Costner hit a new series high with 9.3 million total viewers in Live+Same Day, up +81% vs. the Season 3 finale (5.2 million). The Jan. 2 closer eclipsed the previous L+SD viewership high mark set by the Season 4 premiere (8 million) to become the most watched telecast on cable since The Walking Dead Season 8 premiere on AMC in October 2017 (11.4 million).
The Season 4 finale of Yellowstone, which saw a major character getting killed off, also established new series L+SD highs in the adults 18-49 and adults 25-54 demographics. It delivered 1.9 million P18-49, up 95% vs. S3 (975K) and 2.6 million P25-54, up 100% vs. S3 (1.3 million). The boost has helped Yellowstone become the #1 series of 2021 across broadcast, cable and premium in both demos.
The finale’s simulcast on Paramount Network and CMT attracted 10.3 million total viewers, up +79% vs. S3 finale (5.8 million). On premiere night, including simulcast and Paramount Network encores, the episode amassed more than 11 million viewers.
Additionally, Yellowstone was the #1 most social show on Sunday. The finale marked the series’ most social telecast ever, surpassing the prior season finale by +115%. Season 4 ranked as the #1 most social cable drama during its run.
“Yellowstone continues to shatter records with more than 11 million viewers tuning into the season finale, proving we’ve hit a cultural nerve – from the center of the country to each of the coasts – and still have lots of room to grow on linear,” said Chris McCarthy, President and CEO, ViacomCBS Media Networks. “Our strategy to franchise Yellowstone into a universe of series to fuel growth for Paramount+ is already exceeding expectations with 1883 and Mayor of Kingstown proving to be two of the top titles.”
Co-created by Taylor Sheridan and John Linson, Yellowstone is the cornerstone of a rapidly expanding Taylor Sheridan universe on ViacomCBS. It was used to successfully launch two new Paramount+ series from Sheridan this season, Yellowstone prequel 1883 as well as Mayor Of Kingstown, both of which received linear airings on Paramount Network behind Yellowstone in addition to their streaming runs on P+.
Yellowstone, along with the other Taylor Sheridan series, is co-produced by 101 Studios and MTV Entertainment Studios. David C. Glasser, Stephen Kay and Ron Burkle executive produce for 101 Studios, along with John Linson, Art Linson, Sheridan, Costner and Bob Yari.
“It is incredibly rewarding to see the Yellowstone audience continue to expand even as we come to the close of our 4th season,” Glasser said. “This expansion is a true testament to the original voices and universe that Taylor created. Our partners at ViacomCBS and MTV Entertainment Studios have supported Taylor’s universe utilizing linear and Paramount+ to fuel each other and continue to build the viewership.”
Yellowstone follows the Dutton family, led by John Dutton (Costner), who controls the largest contiguous ranch in the United States, under constant attack by those it borders – land developers, an Indian reservation, and America’s first National Park.
In addition to Costner, the ensemble cast of Yellowstone‘s fourth season included Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Cole Hauser, Kelsey Asbille, Brecken Merrill, Jefferson White, Forrie Smith, Denim Richards, Ian Bohen, Finn Little, Ryan Bingham and Gil Birmingham with Will Patton.