Kevin Costner’s ‘Yellowstone’ sets viewership milestones

Nov 15, 2022, 8:08 PM | Updated: 8:36 pm
This image released by Paramount Network shows Kevin Costner in a scene from "Yellowstone." (Paramo...

This image released by Paramount Network shows Kevin Costner in a scene from "Yellowstone." (Paramount Network via AP)

(Paramount Network via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Costner’s Paramount epic “Yellowstone” reached 12.1 million viewers for the opening night of its fifth season on Sunday, the most popular scripted series episode so far in the new television season, the Nielsen company said.

That it was a cable network series — instead of a big broadcaster like CBS, NBC or ABC — makes the achievement that much more impressive.

The total viewership involved a little trickery: the show simultaneously aired on Viacom networks CMT, TV Land and Pop, and there were some same-day reruns. Even with that, there were 9.4 million viewers who saw the premiere episode on Paramount alone.

“We’ve been able to create a show that didn’t start out being popular but did it on its own terms,” Costner said in a recent interview with The Associated Press.

“Yellowstone” is one of the most appointment viewing-friendly shows on television now, in part because it appeals to an older audience more used to watching TV in a traditional way, said Josef Adalian, West Coast editor of New York magazine’s

“People want to watch it and they want to watch it now,” Adalian said. It also proves the enduring popularity of the Western as a genre and, in some respects, it’s surprising there haven’t been copycats.

The show is overwhelmingly popular in red states. States with Republican governors — topped by Texas — watch “Yellowstone” three times as much as states with Democratic governors, according to Philo, a live TV streaming service.

No scripted series on a broadcast network has reached more than 8 million same-day viewers this season, although audiences usually increase when delayed viewing is taken into account.

For instance, the most popular broadcast scripted show last week, CBS’ “Young Sheldon,” was seen by 7.14 million people, Nielsen said.

While “Yellowstone” is a huge success for Paramount, the company is also making money for a corporate rival. Streaming rights for previous seasons of the series are owned by Comcast’s Peacock service, because the Paramount+ streaming outlet did not exist when they were up for grabs.

Among the broadcast networks, NBC had the most viewers in prime time last week, averaging 5 million. Fox had 4.6 million, ABC had 3.9 million, CBS had 3.7 million, Univision had 1.2 million, Ion Television had 950,000 and Telemundo had 750,000.

Fox News Channel was the most popular cable network, averaging 3.15 million viewers in prime time. ESPN had 2.19 million, MSNBC had 1.66 million, Paramount had 1.58 million and Hallmark had 1.23 million.

ABC’s “World News Tonight” led the evening news ratings race, averaging 8 million viewers. NBC’s “Nightly News” had 6.8 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5 million.

For the week of Nov. 7-13, the most popular prime-time programs, their networks and viewership:

1. NFL Football: Dallas at Green Bay, Fox, 18.13 million.

2. NFL Football: L.A. Chargers at San Francisco, NBC, 15.84 million.

3. “NFL Pregame,” NBC, 12.37 million.

4. “Yellowstone” (8 p.m.), Paramount, 9.41 million.

5. NFL Football: Baltimore at New Orleans, ESPN, 9.36 million.

6. “Yellowstone” (9:14 p.m.), Paramount, 8.44 million.

7. Election Night Coverage (9 to 10 p.m.), Fox News, 7.81 million.

8. “CMA Awards,” ABC, 7.45 million.

9. Election Night Coverage (8 to 9 p.m.), Fox News, 7.27 million.

10. Election Night Coverage (10 to 11 p.m.), Fox News, 7.19 million.

11. “Young Sheldon,” CBS, 7.14 million.

12. “Football Night in America,” NBC, 6.83 million.

13. “60 Minutes,” CBS, 6.77 million.

14. “Ghosts,” CBS, 6.61 million.

15. “The Equalizer,” CBS, 6.45 million.

16. “Chicago Fire,” NBC, 6.14 million.

17. “Chicago Med,” NBC, 5.98 million.

18. “The Voice,” NBC, 5.87 million.

19. “NFL Pregame,” ESPN, 5.53 million.

20. “911,” Fox, 5.09 million.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


This photo shows Charles Graves dressed as Santa Claus in Austin, Texas on on Sept. 3, 2022. Graves...
Associated Press

Santa’s back in town with inflation, inclusion on his mind

NEW YORK (AP) — Don’t look for plastic partitions or faraway benches when visiting Santa Claus this year. The jolly old elf is back, pre-pandemic style, and he’s got some pressing issues on his mind. Santa booker has logged a 30% increase in demand this Christmas season over last year, after losing about 15% […]
8 hours ago
FILE - Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and wife Gisele arrive to vote in Braddock, Pa, Tuesday...
Associated Press

Pennsylvania campaign wildcard Fetterman turns to governing

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — When John Fetterman goes to Washington in January as one of the Senate’s new members, he’ll bring along an irreverent style from Pennsylvania that extends from his own personal dress code — super casual — to hanging marijuana flags outside his current office in the state Capitol. Pennsylvania’s unique lieutenant governor, […]
8 hours ago
Associated Press

This Week: Consumer confidence, consumer spending, jobs data

A look at some of the key business events and economic indicators upcoming this week: CONFIDENCE CHECK The Conference Board delivers its latest index of U.S. consumer confidence Tuesday. Economists expect the reading fell in November to 98. That would follow a reading of 102.5 in October. A reading of 90 or better reflects a […]
8 hours ago
Associated Press

Water boil order issued for more than 2 million in Houston

HOUSTON (AP) — More than 2 million people in the Houston area were under a boil order notice Monday after a power outage caused low pressure at a water purification plant, officials said. The order — which means water must be boiled before it’s used for cooking, bathing or drinking — also prompted schools in […]
8 hours ago
Associated Press

Mother charged with murder in stabbings of her 2 boys in NYC

NEW YORK (AP) — A mother has been charged with murder in the stabbings of two small children in a Bronx apartment, police said Monday. Dimone Fleming, 22, is accused of killing 11-month-old Octavius Fleming-Canada and 3-year-old Dashawn Fleming, who were found with multiple stab wounds on Saturday in the apartment in the Mount Hope […]
8 hours ago
This photo provided by Shutterfly shows Shutterfly CEO Hillary Schneider. As other technology compa...
Associated Press

Shutterfly CEO sees ‘choppy’ times through her economic lens

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — While other technology companies lay off workers and try to cut other costs amid a post-pandemic comedown, Shutterfly CEO Hilary Schneider is gearing up for a busy holiday season. Orders are pouring in for the digital photo and printing company’s photo books, which capture moments from all the postponed vacations, weddings […]
8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
Kevin Costner’s ‘Yellowstone’ sets viewership milestones