Yellowstone, the popular neo-Western drama from Paramount, debuted its fifth season this past weekend, and it appears like viewers can’t get enough.
Yellowstone has significantly increased its ratings between this season and last, breaking records in key demographics, despite the fact that the series isn’t available to stream on Paramount+ in the U.S. (though it is in the U.K. and Canada) and new episodes are best watched with a cable or live TV subscription rather than a traditional streaming service.
Yellowstone’s fifth season debut on Paramount Network alone drew 8.8 million people, according to TV Line. The 18-34 demographic saw a 52% rise in viewers, the 18-49 demo a 22% increase, and the 25-34 demo a 13% increase.
The season debut of Yellowstone drew a total of 10.3 million people when data from other Viacom channels like CMT and TV Land that simultaneously ran fresh episodes of the show was included. The cumulative viewership of the premiere on Sunday night across the Paramount Network and other Viacom networks was 12.1 million.
Given that people in these younger age groups favor streaming over live cable television, the rise in viewership is noteworthy. Even while House of the Dragon’s popularity demonstrates that there is still a need for appointment TV, this series benefited by being made accessible on HBO Max, a related streaming service, in addition to HBO, where it was shown.
Only 19% of Millennials and 25% of Gen Z still use cable TV, according to an Ipsos poll from 2021, so the fact that Yellowstone was able to boost its audience in the 18-34 age range by more than 50% is an impressive achievement.
When you consider where in the United States Yellowstone is most well-known, this increase is even more unexpected. They refer to it as the conservative show, the Republican show, or the red-state Game of Thrones, and I just sit back laughing, said series creator Taylor Sheridan when questioned by The Atlantic about his thoughts on the identification of the show as a red state show.
I ask, “Really?” The show discusses the eviction of Native Americans, the mistreatment of Native American women, corporate greed, the gentrification of the West, and land grabbing. Is that a red-state program?
Yellowstone’s creator Taylor Sheridan maintains that it is not a program for red states, but according to data from the live TV streaming service Philo, viewers from states with Republican governors watched the season 5 premiere three times more often than those from areas with Democratic governors.
Despite any preconceived notions about what this show is or isn’t about politics, the story is resonating with what appears to be a wide variety of people across the United States.
This may have something to do with the fact that the series patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner) is a likely Republican politician and the series takes place in Montana (a red state). Whatever your opinion of Yellowstone’s political stances, or lack thereof, it has evolved into a show that appeals to both younger and older fans.
Yellowstone season 5’s first new episodes air on Sundays at 8 p.m. The following day on Paramount+ in the U.K. and at 8:00 p.m. ET on Paramount Network in the U.S.