Yellowstone’s season four finale has become the most watched cable telecast in the US since the season eight premiere of The Walking Dead in 2017.
The episode, which aired on Sunday (2 January), attracted a whopping 10.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen’s Live+Same Day figures. This was up 79 per cent from the Paramount Network show’s season three conclusion, which was watched by 5.2 million people.
Network encores drove the number up to 11 million viewers on premiere night.
The only show that boasts higher viewership numbers is The Walking Dead, after 11.4 million people tuned in to watch the horror series’ season eight opener in October 2017.
Created by Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water) and John Linson (Sons of Anarchy), Yellowstone is set in Montana where a powerful family of ranchers tries to safeguard their empire.
Oscar winner Kevin Costner plays the role of Dutton family patriarch Josh, while Kelly Reilly portrays his wife Beth. The show also stars Luke Grimes, Wes Bentley, Cole Hauser, Kelsey Asbille and Brecken Merrill as the Dutton children.
In an official statement, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Media Networks Chris McCarthy said the impressive viewership figures prove that Yellowstone has “hit a cultural nerve”.
He continued: “Our strategy to franchise Yellowstone into a universe of series to fuel growth for Paramount+ is already exceeding expectations with 1883 and Mayor of Kingstown proving to be two of the [network’s] top titles.”
A prequel to Yellowstone,1883, was released on 19 December last year. It stars Tim McGraw, Sam Elliot, Faith Hill (who married McGraw 25 years ago), Isabela May, and Billy Bob Thornton (in a cameo role).
Yellowstone and 1883 are available for streaming on Paramount+ in the US.