Viacom’s CBS All Access recently made headlines by announcing its reboot as Paramount Plus, with a new Taylor Sheridan show to boot. Now comes word that Viacom’s Paramount Network is rebranding, and it actually sounds like good news for the network’s mega-hit, Yellowstone. There are some changes on the show's horizon though. So brace yourselves, as Season 4 may not be released in the same way its predecessors were.
Within the next year, Paramount Network will become Paramount Movie Network and, moving forward, the TV channel will produce 52 one-hour movies annually and release a miniseries each quarter that matches the scale of Yellowstone. Variety also reports that characters from these miniseries have the potential to be spun off into their own solo films or sequels in the future. So where does Yellowstone fit into all of this?
Well, the show’s fourth season may not air in the fashion that it has in past seasons, as the network is looking to make Season 4 more of "cinematic experience" by dropping two episodes per night. Not only that, but there would be limited commercials for those watching the dual episodes live. Of course, the downside is that Yellowstone’s upcoming season would conclude in half the time, and it already goes by pretty quickly for this fan.
What I don't quite understand about this news is whether or not Yellowstone would return for a true fifth season, which is a strong possibility considering the show's strong momentum heading into Season 4 and Taylor Sheridan’s thoughts on the show’s longevity. And there's also the network’s complementary take on the series. All in all, there should be no rush to end the Kevin Costner-led ensemble piece.
Could fans really get a full season of Yellowstone that's dished out with two weekly, back-to-back episodes that are more contained? On top of that, could there be spinoffs focused on the main characters that delve deeper into their day-to-day lives? In other words, there's the chance that we could get nearly double the Yellowstone per year.
Future seasons could, theoretically, be made as five made-for-TV movies. Taylor Sheridan is no stranger to writing movie scripts, so moving into a two-hour teleplay-style may be appealing to him. As far as the spinoffs go, I have even more questions. For that matter, it's unclear if the spinoff proposal explicitly refers to Yellowstone and, if so, what would that look like?
Yellowstone’s future could be one TV movie a week that focuses on a single character. For instance, let us imagine that Kayce becomes the Governor of Montana, after all. A TV movie may focus on him and Monica living their (hopefully blissful) lives in the Governor’s mansion. And the next Yellowstone movie could focus on John, Rip, and company’s life at the ranch.
If these scenarios were to play out, it would be a potential avenue to have less Kevin Costner/John Dutton-centric activity per season. Such a move would actually help Costner, who has been open about his struggles adjusting to television. For Yellowstone’s central star, it would mean that he can spend more time with his family, which he hasn't been able to do as much while shooting Season 4. But on the other hand, it would also mean that viewers would have to keep up with the show’s ensemble separately.
I am personally hopeful that the new season of Yellowstone will remain the same story-wise and will just be told in a more two-hour friendly fashion. I would also love to see those much-hoped-for spinoffs happen on top of what would already be the central show. That is, in my opinion, the best-case scenario for Yellowstone fans who love the ensemble and do not want to see it chopped up too much. After this fall’s premieres, Yellowstone will return for a fourth season that will hopefully be with us in 2021!