The rumor mill started turning late last year when stories surfaced online about Costner wanting to parlay the Season 3 cliff-hanger ending as a way off the show. Costner lives in Colorado and was apparently displeased about production for Season 4 moving from nearby Utah to further afield Montana in a COVID-safe bubble. Despite those rumors having since been debunked, last month Costner, who’s also an executive producer, exacerbated concerns from fans when he played coy during a “Good Day New York” interview when asked if he’s returning for the fourth season, responding that he “can’t say.”
However, since that interview, reports from set surfaced that confirmed Costner is absolutely still the star of the show. Fears of his sudden departure were also allayed when a photo of him on the show’s new set surfaced on his Instagram feed.
Remember that Costner loves this show. When Gold Derby interviewed him last year, the Oscar winner was effusive in his praise, emphasizing how much he has enjoyed getting back in the saddle decades after his Oscar-winning “Dances With Wolves” (1990). “I believe in the audience and they’re willingness to take that ride, whatever age they are,” he said of the popularity of a good Western film or series. “I think that younger people are dying for something that’s compelling. If you don’t make it compelling, they won’t respond. I believe in an audience and I put the on my shoulder every time I decide to do something.”
While he admitted that he never intended to sign on to a long-running drama — explaining that “it wasn’t supposed to be a series when I was first approached with it. It was going to be 10 episodes, it was going to finish there” — it was the quality of the writing and because “the show has been wonderfully received” that kept him coming back for more.
Paramount Network’s hit neo-Western, created by Oscar nominee Taylor Sheridan (“Hell or High Water”), centers on a powerful Montana ranching family under constant threat by politicians, developers and neighboring Native American reservation. Costner stars as family patriarch John Dutton, a tough-as-nails father trying to keep his family’s legacy alive by any means necessary, and co-stars Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Cole Hauser and Gil Birmingham.
Over its three seasons to date, “Yellowstone” has become a bona fide hit for the cable network. Its viewership surged 214.8 percent in time-shifted viewing for its third season, which concluded in August with 5.16 million live viewers. That made it the most-watched scripted cable series of 2020, up from the 2.8 million that tuned in for its sophomore finale in 2019 (which was still impressive as the show only trailed “The Walking Dead” as the second most-viewed cable series of that year).
Paramount is so ecstatic about its success that it unsurprisingly renewed the show for a fourth season, four months before the third season premiered last year. The new season has wrapped production and is expected to premiere this summer.
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