When Yellowstone's Co-Creator Taylor Sheridan Thinks The Kevin Costner Drama Will End

Not many could have foreseen Veronica Mars and Sons of Anarchy actor Taylor Sheridan one day being the King of Cable TV, but the Yellowstone co-creator has certainly earned such lofty monikers in recent years. The Kevin Costner-starring drama is pulling in bigger audiences than ever, and the recently debuted prequel 1883 earned the largest audience for a cable premiere since Fear the Walking Dead kicked off in 2015. For many entertainment creators wearing rose-tinted glasses, the sky would be the limit at this point, but Sheridan has proven himself to be far more practical than most, and already has Yellowstone's ending in his general sights.

Which isn't to say that Paramount Network's ratings monster is going away anytime soon, since it doesn't sound like Taylor Sheridan is quite ready to call it quits with the Dutton family just yet. But he is apparently damned sure the show is going to end before Season 9 ever becomes a possibility, as he said this to the New York Times:

Well, I know how it ends. I’m writing to that ending. There’s only so much hovering one can do before the story starts to lose its locomotion; you can’t put it in neutral just because it’s successful. It will go as many years as it takes for me to tell the story, but you’re not going to see nine seasons of it. No way.

Technically, I suppose one could read that latter sentiment as "Yellowstone could go on ad infinitum so long as it doesn't end with exactly nine seasons," but I don't think Sheridan is that kind of a trickster. And by all means, with the way things have ramped up between John, Beth and Jamie recently (among other storylines), it would be very hard to imagine another five seasons galloping along at the same pace. It would just be scorched earth by the end.

Yellowstone in neutral would be “rocket-powered fourth gear” for a lot of other TV dramas out there, but it’s definitely understandable why Taylor Sheridan doesn’t want to rest on the laurels of popularity alone as the driving force behind keeping the drama going. It’s a similar outlook to what he had when reflecting on the topic during the early weeks of Season 3, though that was before Sheridan resigned a highly lucrative overall deal with ViacomCBS, and before anything came out about 1883 and the impending 6666 spinoff planned for Paramount+. Hard to tell whether the franchise expansion (as well as all those zeroes) shifted his plans for Yellowstone at all.

So it’s perhaps not surprising that Sheridan played it coy when asked if there were more plans for projects within this fictionalized universe. In his words:

I don’t limit myself. I’m drawn to the sparseness of the West because that’s where I’ve spent most of my life. I lived in New York for a while. I enjoyed my time there, but I would be an outsider writing about it. I like being outdoors. I really like using the camera as a paintbrush, and I just find it’s so rare that you get to see the vastness of this nation. For the time being, that’s what fascinates me the most.

For all those taking notes out there, it’s also unclear exactly how long 1883 will last, especially with Yellowstone’s Season 4 flashbacks giving viewers a dark taste of what happened well after the prequel’s central timeline for Tim McGraw’s James Dutton and Faith Hill’s Margaret Dutton. But so long as Sheridan continues to enjoy the beauty and the majesty of wide open spaces, I presume (and desperately hope) he’ll have at least one boot in the world of Yellowstone for many years to come. 

Yellowstone airs Sunday nights on Paramount Network at 8:00 p.m. ET, with the second episode of 1883 also airing linearly following the December 26 episode. Check out our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see everything heading to the small screen in the future!

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.