The most popular series on cable television returned on Sunday, and it came back bigger than ever before. Yellowstone debuted its highly anticipated fourth season on the Paramount Network Sunday night, looking to build on three wildly successful seasons and a streaming boost from Peacock. The Season 4 premiere was electric for fans of the series, resolving some cliffhangers and delivering a couple of big twists, but it was equally as exciting for the network itself. Yellowstone just delivered its biggest ratings to-date, and the best cable numbers since 2018.
According to Deadline, Yellowstone’s Season 4 premiere saw eight million viewers in Live+Same Day numbers. That’s a massive gain for Yellowstone over the course of the past year, considering the Season 3 premiere had 4.2 million viewers. The series nearly doubled its viewership from season to season. That viewership is good for the best on any cable telecast since a 2018 episode of The Walking Dead. It also tops the Season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones, which saw 6.6 million viewers on HBO.
The numbers get even bigger when you look at the other broadcasts and reruns that didn’t take place on Paramount Network. Yellowstone is simulcast on CMT, TV Land, and Pop, and the four networks combined for 9.5 million live viewers. The full night event across the networks drew 11.2 million total viewers, a massive increase over Season 3’s 6.6 million.
Taylor Sheridan’s sweeping family drama has continued to be a juggernaut for Paramount, and it’s understandably getting turned into a franchise. A Yellowstone prequel series about the origins of the Dutton family, titled 1883, debuted its first trailer during Sunday’s season premiere. That series is set to make its debut on the Paramount+ streaming service this December.
“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,” Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of MTV Entertainment Group, told Deadline. “The Yellowstone Season 4 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.”
Not many cable TV shows are able to deliver massive numbers in the age of streaming, but Yellowstone continues to defy the odds, becoming a bigger and bigger hit with each passing season.