Conventional wisdom has it that no linear TV show can capture a huge audience in the age of streaming. "Nah," says "Yellowstone." The Kevin Costner-led drama about a Montana ranching family just aired its fourth season finale on the Paramount Network, and according to Deadline, it crushed it. "Grass on the Streets and Weeds on the Rooftops" brought in 9.3 million total viewers in Live+Same Day ratings, up +81% from the season 3 finale. Add in the viewers from the simulcast on CMT, and you've got 10.3 million.
Overall, the "Yellowstone" finale was the most watched telecast on cable since "The Walking Dead" season 8 premiere on AMC back in 2017, which got 11.4 million viewers. And things could just get bigger from here.
"'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 ViacomCBS executive Chris McCarthy. "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."
Where to stream "Yellowstone"
It's true that ViacomCBS has started to branch out, to create a "Yellowstone" cinematic universe, if you will. "1883" is a prequel series that follows the Duttons as they first set out to Montana back in the 1880s, and it's been a hit for Paramount+.
That said, you won't actually be able to stream "Yellowstone" itself on Paramount+, at least not right now. The first three seasons are available to stream on rival streaming service Peacock, of all places. Peacock creator NBCUniversal got the streaming rights to the show a few years back; perhaps ViacomCBS didn't expect the show to become the hot property it is back then and just wanted the licensing fees. I'm sure they're kicking themselves now.
We'll see if "Yellowstone's" winning streak continues with season 5, probably out later this year.