Though “Yellowstone” is now in its fifth and final season on Paramount Network, its series premiere just landed on broadcast TV for the first time, bringing 6.6 million viewers to CBS on Sunday night.
This marks a substantial leap from the episode’s 2.8 million viewers when it first premiered back in 2018 — though that was to be expected, as CBS reaches a larger audience than its sister cable networks, and “Yellowstone” has since become a major hit. For a more recent comparison, Paramount Network’s airing of the Season 5 premiere in November drew 8.8 million viewers, and simulcasts across Country Music Television, TVLand and Pop TV brought that number up to 10.5 million.
Sunday’s “Yellowstone” episode also benefitted from lead-in from “60 Minutes,” which aired right before and drew 11.4 million viewers. The series will continue to air in order, with two episodes per week except on NFL doubleheader nights, when only one episode will air.
CBS is airing “Yellowstone” and other titles from within the Paramount ecosystem as a way to fill out its fall slate amid the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. For “Yellowstone” in particular, the move makes sense — Variety TV critic Aramide Tinubu wrote that the series’ “new broadcast home is precisely where the massive and wildly entertaining epic should have been from the beginning.”
“Yellowstone” was the first Taylor Sheridan-created series for Paramount Global, but has since become a full universe. Prequel series “1883” premiered on Paramount+ in 2022, as did prequel series “1923,” which will return for a second season. “Lawmen: Bass Reeves” will premiere on Paramount+ in November as a spinoff of “1883,” while “6666” heads to Paramount Network. “1944” is in development as a sequel to “1923,” and another untitled spinoff is also in the works.