Yellowstone Season 4 Premiere Draws Massive 8 Million Viewers, Sets 2021 Demo Highs On Television

SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of Sunday night’s Season 4 premiere of Paramount Network’s Yellowstone.

Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone has hit another set of series highs, smashing its previous rating records with the Season 4 premiere. Sunday night’s opener of Paramount Network’s flagship series starring Oscar winner Kevin Costner drew a staggering 8 million total viewers in Live+Same Day, up a whopping 104% from the Season 3 premiere one year ago (4.2 million). That makes it the most-watched cable series telecast since a 2018 episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead, according to Nielsen data pulled by the network. The premiere on the ad-supported Paramount Network also eclipsed HBO’s juggernaut Game of Thrones, which drew 6.6 million L+SD viewers for its Season 4 opener on the premium cable network.

The Season 4 premiere of Yellowstone hit a new high in the key adults 18-49 demo, drawing a 3.26 rating in adults 18-49 (L+SD), up 82% from the Season 3 premiere. Versus the Season 3 average, the premiere was up a big 119% (3.26 vs. 1.49).

The 3.26 18-49 rating and the opener’s adults 25-54 delivery were the highest L+SD demo ratings for an entertainment telecast on any network — broadcast or cable — in 2021, per Paramount Network.

Across four networks (Paramount Network telecasts and simulcasts on CMT, TV Land & Pop) the Season 4 premiere drew 9.5 million total viewers, up 86% vs. Season 3 premiere across the same networks (5.1 million). The full-night event, including premieres and encores, delivered 11.2 million viewers, up 69% vs. the Season 3 premiere (6.6 million).

“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,” said Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of MTV Entertainment Group. “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.”

Last night’s premiere provided several shocking turns and surprises following from the Season 3 finale, which saw John Dutton (Costner) shot and left for dead by a roadside, his daughter Beth (Kelly Reilly) fired after her assistant opened a box with a bomb packed in it, and Kayce (Luke Grimes) last seen overturning his desk and returning fire as gunmen sprayed automatic weapon fire in his direction. There also was a surprise death: the Time Equities exec and fly fishing fanatic Roarke, played by Josh Holloway, who died after being bitten by a snake.

Co-created by Sheridan and John Linson, Yellowstone follows the Dutton family, led by John Dutton, 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.

Yellowstone is co-produced by 101 Studios. Executive producers are John Linson, Art Linson, Sheridan, Costner, David C. Glasser and Bob Yari.

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