Why was Yellowstone canceled after five seasons?

Kelly Reilly on Yellowstone.
Yellowstone was canceled for many reasons. Pic credit: Paramount Network

Yellowstone is one of those shows that don’t come around very often.

It launched on Paramount Network in 2018 with respectable numbers by cable standards.

As each year has passed, the recognition has grown exponentially, and it’s now one of the most-watched shows in the U.S.

You can only imagine our surprise when it was revealed last year that the second part of Yellowstone Season 5 would bring the sprawling western to a close.

Shows this big don’t just drift off into the night, so there’s a plan to continue the franchise.

The main show, though, will cease to exist later this year.

Unrest between Kevin Costner and the Yellowstone cast and creatives are to blame

Kevin Costner has played John Dutton since the series debut, and despite many attempts on John’s life, he’s continually survived.

In 2023, it was reported that Costner’s commitment to his Horizon movie meant he didn’t have much time to shoot for the second half of Yellowstone Season 5.

The actor’s reported reluctance to put adequate time aside to bring the series’ fifth season to a close reportedly led to unrest between Costner, creator Taylor Sheridan, and several of his cast members.

Before the series’ demise was official, reports emerged that Paramount Global was eyeing Matthew McConaughey to lead a spinoff with select cast members from the original series.

Yellowstone’s cancellation was a true shocker

In May 2023, news broke that Costner was out of the show after five seasons and wouldn’t film anything for the final episodes of the season.

Then, two days later, the series got officially canceled after five seasons, but the McConaughey-led spinoff, 2024, scored a series order to air on Paramount+.

Yellowstone was on the air before Paramount+ was even a thing, meaning the streaming rights had already been sold to Peacock.

Spinoffs like 1883 and 1923 have been pulling in astronomical figures on Paramount+, so it makes sense that Paramount Global wants the entire Yellowstone universe under one streaming roof, so to speak.

There’s a financial incentive in ending Yellowstone

With the main series ending, the streaming right will revert to Paramount+ after a pre-determined amount of time following the series finale, so although it’s unfortunate the main series is ending, Costner’s exit clearly drove the decision and that the show was not on Paramount+.

2024 was initially supposed to feature various faces from the original series, including Cole Hauser and Kelly Reilly, but recent reports suggest that they may walk if they don’t get the salary bump they’re looking for.

We couldn’t imagine a series in the Yellowstone universe without Beth and Rip, so we hope that’s resolved relatively soon.

When will Yellowstone end?

After months of delays, the last-ever episodes of Yellowstone are set to air in November.

It’s unclear how many episodes we’re getting because there were originally only meant to be six left this season, but there’s a chance some episodes have been added on to bring the show to a close.

Yellowstone is currently on hiatus. The final episodes of Season 5 are expected to return in November 2024. Seasons 1-5 are available to stream on Peacock.

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