Yellowstone’s network TV debut on CBS draws over 6 million viewers, blowing its Paramount Network premiere out of the water by a significant margin.
Yellowstone’s premiere on network TV draws millions of viewers, far surpassing its original cable debut. After airing on the Paramount Network since its 2018 debut, Yellowstone was added to CBS’s fall schedule in July. This was a part of the network’s response to the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes that have caused numerous productions to be delayed or put on pause; to fill the spaces left by struck productions, CBS has brought Yellowstone to broadcast television.
The CBS premiere of Yellowstone was an unequivocal success. According to The Wrap, Sunday evening’s broadcast of the Yellowstone pilot drew 6.56 million views. As this figure does not include out-of-home viewing, the network expects this number to rise to 6.82 million views by the end of this week.
How Yellowstone Has Been Affected By The Strikes
Yellowstone’s viewing numbers are a staggering success for the show. Compared with Yellowstone season 1’s debut on Paramount Network, these numbers represent an 132% increase in viewership. To make matters more impressive, Yellowstone earned the largest audience for a scripted series since the NCIS season 20 finale in May. In setting these records even before the out-of-home totals, Yellowstone has proved its staying power with the CBS debut.
Yellowstone’s success is particularly salient given how the show has been affected by the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Earlier this year, it was announced that Yellowstone would end following the second half of season 5, whose most recent episode aired on January 1. Yellowstone season 5 part 2 was originally slated to come out later on in 2023, but its timeline is now delayed because of the strikes.
While longtime Yellowstone viewers may be eager for season 5, part 2, the CBS premiere data makes it clear that even its older episodes can pull in audiences. The millions who tuned in could be a mix of newcomers and those who are eager to rewatch the series; both bode well for its staying power. The series finale of Yellowstone could be long in the future as the strikes rage on, so if CBS intends to air the entire show, its eventual ending could go out on an even bigger high than initially expected.