The Crazy High Cost of Paramount’s Yellowstone TV Show


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Some confusion occurred when Paramount was readying for its fifth and final season of Yellowstone, mostly citing disagreements with Taylor Sheridan and leading actor Kevin Costner. The show films in Montana, yet discovered timecard requests from Barbara Stuart, a horse wrangler in Texas. 

Stuart is one of Taylor Sheridan’s employers and helps prep horses Paramount uses on its hit show Yellowstone. Sheridan owns a ranch and a large number of livestock he rents out to use in film and television series productions (think Nope but without the peculiar cloud). Additionally, he established “a network of lucrative commercial projects that feed off them.” 

Sheridan offers a “Cowboy Camp” to train actors at one of his ranches in addition to renting herds of cattle for production, charging $25 for each individual bovine. 

He has worked on the series not just training horses, but has also written, produced, and even directed several other prequel shows expanding the Yellowstone series such as 1833 and 1923. These series have been huge successes for Paramount and Paramount+ as well as the Paramount Network cable channel. 

While the huge increase in audience engagement is attributed to Sheridan’s work on shows, Paramount executives are concerned about the massive amounts of the show’s budget, much of which is driven up by compensating Sheridan’s expert experience. He has a nearly unheard-of amount of leverage over Paramount as well as 101 Studios, producers of his series. 

A spokesperson for Paramount claims “Taylor’s shows are among our most successful and profitable.” And a new series related to the Yellowstone worldbuilding is in the works. No official word has yet to be released, although Matthew McConaughey is entertaining negotiations to take the lead role. 

According to sources, one of his favorite production locations is his ranches located in Texas where he “can charge Paramount as much as $50,000 a week” to use. A single episode of these popular Paramount series can cost at least $22 million. His shows have helped Paramount+ increase its member base by around 4.1 in its first quarter earnings report. Adding this to the numbers Paramount achieved from Sheridan’s work brought 10 million subscribers to the fourth quarter reports from 2022. 

At a recent cattle convention, Sheridan had this to say about his current arrangement: 

“There’s nothing better than a movie company showing up and filming for about a month and paying you a bunch of money and leaving. It’s about the greatest deal going.”

101 Studios stated it is working to find a fair agreement between maintaining the quality of Sheridan’s shows while also cutting costs, bearing in mind his series are “worth the cost as proven by their success.”

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