Executives at Paramount Global have denied a report published by an entertainment news outlet that claims “Yellowstone” star Kevin Costner is on his way out.
On Monday, the website Deadline Hollywood claimed Paramount Network Yellowstone showrunner Taylor Sheridan were preparing for Costner’s exit over a purported impasse concerning the number of hours the actor needed to commit to filming the upcoming season of the show.
Deadline claimed via unnamed sources that Paramount and Sheridan were looking to wind down Yellowstone and launch a new spin-off featuring actor Matthew McConaughey. Some characters from Yellowstone would transition over to the spin-off, Deadline asserted.
Yellowstone is the top scripted serial on cable television, and has generated an immense amount of interest and business for Sheridan and Paramount. Deadline’s report sent shockwaves through the media industry, until Paramount officials shot down the report as baseless.
“We have no news to report,” a Paramount spokesperson said in a statement. “Kevin Costner is a big part of Yellowstone, and we hope that’s the case for a long time to come.”
The official didn’t deny claims that Sheridan was considering a Yellowstone spin-off starring McConaughey, instead calling the actor “a phenomenal talent with whom we’d love to partner.”
A Yellowstone spin-off would not be unprecedented: Two pre-quels of the show were green have been green-lit by Paramount over the last few years, including “1883” starring Tim McGraw, Faith hill and Sam Elliot, and “1923” starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren. Both spin-offs are exclusive to Paramount’s flagship streaming service, Paramount Plus.
Paramount and Sheridan have also enjoyed a close working relationship on other serials that take place outside the Yellowstone franchise, including drama “Mayor of Kingstown” starring Jeremy Renner and the Sylvester Stallone-led comedy-drama “Tulsa King.” Like the Yellowstone spin-offs, Mayor of Kingstown and Tulsa King are exclusive to Paramount Plus.
Yellowstone has been a ratings success for Paramount and its linear cable channels, with the debut episode of the program’s fifth season being simulcast on Paramount Network, MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, CMT, TV Land and Pop. The simulcast and replays helped earn Paramount more than 12.1 million viewers for the start of the fifth season, almost putting it on equal footing with NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” which had over 11 million viewers.