A “Yellowstone” prequel series is set at Paramount Plus under an extension of series co-creator Taylor Sheridan’s overall deal with ViacomCBS.
The prequel, “Y: 1883,” follows the Dutton family as they embark on a journey west through the Great Plains toward the last bastion of untamed America. It is described as a stark retelling of Western expansion, and an intense study of one family fleeing poverty to seek a better future in America’s promised land — Montana.
The show will debut on Paramount Plus in 2021, with a special sneak preview set to air during the Super Bowl this Sunday. It will be executive produced by Sheridan, fellow “Yellowstone” co-creator John Linson, Art Linson, David Glasser, David Hutkin, and Bob Yari.
“Taylor Sheridan is a visionary creative whose work has reinvented genres and amassed fan bases around the globe; we are thrilled he calls ViacomCBS and MTV Entertainment his home,” said Chris McCarthy, president of MTV Entertainment. “We couldn’t be more excited to build upon our partnership with him, expand the Yellowstone universe and showcase Taylor’s boundless talent across all of our brands and platforms.”
“Y: 1883” is the first of many projects for Sheridan under the extended deal, which was originally signed less than a year ago. He will create multi-platform content with MTV Entertainment Studios and 101 Studios under the multi-year pact, which includes five cycles per year of scripted and procedural series. Content will be exclusive to ViacomCBS, including but not limited to Paramount Network, Paramount Plus, CBS and other brands and platforms under the media giant’s control.
Expanding the “Yellowstone” brand beyond Paramount Network comes as no surprise, considering that it is currently the top scripted series on cable. The show continued to be a massive ratings draw for the cabler in its third season, with the Season 3 finale pulling in a massive 5.2 million viewers. It was renewed for a fourth season at Paramount Network last year in conjunction with the announcement of Sheridan’s overall deal.
“I am excited to continue the story of ‘Yellowstone’ and thank you to Chris, Keith and David for allowing me to keep on expanding the family for the fans,” Sheridan said.
Variety exclusively reported back in September that Paramount Network is largely exiting the scripted series game save for “Yellowstone.” The network is instead re-tooling to focus on made-for-TV movies. ViacomCBS is instead moving much of its new scripted content over to Paramount Plus, which is the rebranded name of streaming service CBS All Access.
“Taylor Sheridan is a master at world-building and has a singular voice that makes him one of today’s standout creators making must-watch content,” said David Glasser, CEO of 101 Studios. “Our mission at 101 is to produce content that provokes culture conversations with renowned creators at the helm of our projects, and that is exactly what we envision for this collaboration. This deal is an extension of our longstanding relationship with both ViacomCBS, MTV Entertainment Group and Taylor and we are very much looking forward to our future projects.”