Kevin Costner is leaving Yellowstone after season 5, but the beloved Western franchise will continue to grow even after losing its lead.
Yellowstone has become a cultural phenomenon over the last few years, and despite Kevin Costner’s looming departure from the franchise, it’s about to get even bigger. Yellowstone season 5 marks the end of the original series, which follows Costner’s character, John Dutton, as he navigates the realities of owning Montana’s largest ranch. That may not sound particularly gripping, but Yellowstone’s popularity is proof that the Dutton family keeps things interesting.
There’s little doubt that Yellowstone will get an emotional send-off when season 5 concludes later this year. However, even if the original show is taking its final bow, Paramount has already begun building a franchise around the beloved Western. Its first prequel, 1883, debuted at the end of 2021, and its second, 1932, arrived at the tail end of 2022. Yellowstone is also getting a sequel series, and there are a number of spinoffs currently in development. Needless to say, viewers will have more opportunities to immerse themselves in John Linson and Taylor Sheridan’s fictional world.
Yellowstone On CBS Will Make It Bigger Than Ever
Costner leaving the Yellowstone franchise after season 5 could bode poorly for its upcoming sequel series, as well as its other spinoffs. The well-loved actor has been a selling point for the show, and more successful franchises have plummeted after losing their leads. However, even with Costner’s exit approaching, Yellowstone is more likely to see a rise in interest. The series, which is currently available on the Paramount Network and Peacock, will begin airing on CBS this fall.
Yellowstone coming to CBS means audiences without access to Paramount and Peacock will get to experience the Western drama for the first time. Being on network TV is likely to grow the show’s audience, drawing viewers that wouldn’t have watched it otherwise, a tactic that promises to expand the series’ viewership. Additionally, shows tend to see a surge in popularity when making the leap from one network or platform to another. This happens all the time when series come to Netflix, with one notable example being Breaking Bad.
Why Yellowstone’s Franchise Will Survive Kevin Costner’s Exit
With Yellowstone poised to expand its fan base this fall, the franchise will likely survive Costner’s exit. Yellowstone already has a dedicated following, and many of those viewers will check out Yellowstone’s spinoffs, assuming they haven’t dived into its prequels already. Both 1883 and 1923 have seen success without Costner at the helm, going on to prompt the development of four additional Yellowstone prequels. Each series boasts solid viewership numbers, with 1883 even seeing a 108% increase when it moved from the Paramount Network to Paramount+ (via TheWrap).
It helps that Yellowstone’s spinoffs have compelling concepts, which offer new perspectives on the original show. The current prequels explore different generations of the Dutton family, with 1883 revealing how they started the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch in the first place. Meanwhile, upcoming series like 6666 and Lawman: Bass Reeves will focus on other characters in the Yellowstone universe. The sequel will presumably showcase the aftermath of Yellowstone itself. It’s all connected, and it should all appeal to fans of the original series. That’s enough to keep the franchise alive post-Costner.