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When Kevin Costner makes his way to TV for a new project, one can almost guarantee that the actor's millions-strong fanbase will follow. That's definitely the case for his Paramount Network neo-western Yellowstone, which has come out of the gate as strong as anyone could have expected. After the delayed Live+3 stats were tallied, it was ascertained Paramount brought in nearly five million viewers, making it the biggest summer drama debut of the year so far. And that's not all.
When Yellowstone premiered on Wednesday, June 20, it was watched that evening by around 2.8 million viewers, and that number jumped up considerably in the following two days. With nearly five million viewers total for that opening installment, Yellowstone took over as the top summer drama debut on both cable and broadcast networks. It currently ranks as ad-supported cable's most-watched scripted premiere since 2016, when The People v. O.J. Simpson netted around 8.3 million pairs of eyes.
Beyond the viewership totals, Yellowstone was also a big winner for Paramount in the demo ratings, according to Deadline. After the Live+3 numbers came in, the drama jumped up to a very respectable 1.1 rating in adults aged 18-49, which isn't easy for new cable shows to pull off. What's more, the slightly older 25-54 audience gave the show a 1.7 demo rating, which is the kind of number that could keep Yellowstone on the air for a long time.
It's likely that everyone at Paramount Network is celebrating Yellowstone's success, since it's got the best premiere numbers of any of the network's recent originals slate. The delayed stats even made it the most watched original series telecast in the history of Paramount and predecessor Spike TV, easily topping the most recent debuts of Waco and American Woman. Obviously those numbers will go down and level out with time, but for now, you can bet that Kevin Costner's John Dutton would be lording that success all over everyone around him.
In Yellowstone, Costner's John Dutton controls the largest contiguous cattle ranch in the U.S., and both Dutton and his ranch are a constant source of ire and conflict for everyone bordering his property, which includes a Native American reservation, a growing township and the massive national park. Co-starring Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Luke Grimes, Dave Anabelle, Cole Hauser and many more, Yellowstone is a drama about power, corruption and the dark paths that both can lead to. And people clearly can't get enough.
If you're one of the millions that already tuned in to watch Kevin Costner rule the roost on Yellowstone, then you know it airs Wednesday nights on Paramount Network at 10:00 p.m. ET. To see what other new and returning shows are on the way in the near future, head to our summer premiere schedule.