Kevin Costner's Yellowstone Is Now The Cable Show To Beat In The Ratings

Yellowstone Kayce Dutton Luke Grimes John Dutton Kevin Costner Paramount Network

(Image credit: Paramount Network)

Kevin Costner’s Yellowstone is back, and it is already riding high in the ratings! Season 2 kicked off last week with a shocking premiere episode. If you were among those captivated by the opener, you were far from alone. The Paramount Network series is already the cable network show to beat in the ratings. Here’s why.

Yellowstone’s Live + Same Day numbers had already put the series opening to an impressive-in-context 0.45 rating and around 2.4 million total viewers. Following the addition of Live + 3 numbers, however, the Kevin Costner drama more than doubled its initial stats.

After three days of delayed viewing were tallied, Yellowstone got a Dutton-worthy surge of 115% in the key demo, per Variety, bringing it up to a 0.98. That's more than serviceable for a mid-sized broadcast drama, which means Yellowstone can proudly hang its hat there without many other cable series coming anywhere close to that demo rating.

As well, the gorgeously shot Paramount drama saw a 109% uptick in viewers in Live + 3 averages, thus bringing the Season 2 premiere’s total viewers to right around 5.1 million. These numbers could potentially improve even further once Live + 7 numbers are added into the equation.

The stats already put the Western outpacing its own series premiere by 6% in total viewers and 38% in the demo. That so many people are tuning in from the outset should indicate good things going forward.

As a point of comparison, AMC's Fear the Walking Dead is also one of the most popular cable dramas, and it's bringing in around 1.7 million live viewers, with a 0.5 demo rating. The Live + 7 totals for its earliest Season 5 episodes have indeed doubled the demo rating, but even with an additional three days, Fear's total audience isn't growing at nearly the same rate as Yellowstone's is. (Which isn't a knock on FTWD, but rather a compliment to the other series.)

Hopefully, new viewers got a chance to get hooked during the off-season. I personally caught up in between Season 1 and Season 2. Yellowstone owes itself to being both a binge-worthy endeavor and week-to-week treat. It is riveting and begs to be continued. While at the same time, it is pleasant to sit and speculate about what is around the corner for a week in a more traditional way of watching TV.

Positive news just keeps coming for the Kevin Costner led series. Its latest good tidings arriving after Paramount Network made the move of renewing Yellowstone for Season 3 even before Season 2 premiered. In conjunction, the modern-set Western also made a significant casting announcement for the next season.

For those wondering whether to join the millions already watching, here is what you need to know about Yellowstone. The series follows Kevin Costner’s John Dutton, a rancher in Montana with one crucial distinction: he controls the "largest contiguous cattle ranch in the United States." Surrounded by his strong-willed adult children, Dutton is trying to keep the eponymous Yellowstone ranch in the family for future generations.

Yellowstone was co-created by Hell or High Water screenwriter Taylor Sheridan and Sons of Anarchy executive producer, John Linson. (Sheridan was memorably S.O.A.'s David Hale.) At its heart, Yellowstone is a sprawling family drama, an epic told in modern times that hits highs and lows across the board. There were many things that I wanted to happen in Season 2, and one of them has already occurred so far, so I am already a thrilled viewer.

All of this and Arrow vet Neal McDonough hasn't even made his debut as his speculation-inducing new Season 2 character. The sure-to-be-explosive second season has already gotten underway in stunning fashion, so hopefully millions of people keep tuning in so that there are many more seasons to come.

Check out the latest TV series that Kevin Costner said “yes” to when new episodes of Yellowstone Season 2 air Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on the Paramount Network. The drama is part of summer’s impressive showcase of television premieres, so be sure to fill your time wisely.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.