If you weren’t paying attention too closely, the Yellowstone phenomenon probably came out of nowhere. While buzzy series typically run through Netflix or HBO or the awards circuit, Yellowstone has gone its own way on Paramount Network and grown its fanbase exponentially. (It’s been nominated for a lone Primetime Creative Arts Emmy, but none yet at the Primetime Emmy Awards proper.)
The Kevin Costner show, co-created by Hell or High Water director Taylor Sheridan, opened season 4 with a meaty cliffhanger to resolve and resulted in the most-watched episode of any cable series in the last three years. According to a recent CivicScience study among those aware of the show, Yellowstone carries one crucial trait of a true word-of-mouth phenomenon — almost as many Americans plan to watch it as those who already have watched and liked it. That’s a huge well of untapped viewership for a show to have on-demand in its fourth season, with two spinoff series already on the way.
Although Costner’s John Dutton is a sixth-generation Montana rancher, Yellowstone fans hail from all different parts of the country. Urban residents are slightly more likely to have enjoyed the series than suburban and rural Americans, but adults in rural areas are the most likely to give it a chance in the future.
Yellowstone fans are significantly more likely to eat fast food weekly than non-fans and prospective fans — but non-fans are the most likely to eat fast food on at least a monthly basis. The show’s probably a little too mature to inspire a kids meal, but perhaps not too mature for an adults-friendly fast food promotion in the future.
At least until the introduction of a recent character played by Piper Perabo, Yellowstone has been hailed in some circles as a “non-woke” alternative to other prestige television shows. The political breakdown bears this out; conservatives are more than twice as likely as liberals to have enjoyed watching the show. Moderates, however, represent the largest pool of untapped viewers.
Although Yellowstone fans aren’t all living the rancher lifestyle, there is a strong correlation between interest in cowboy boots and interest in the show. Nearly half of all cowboy boot die-hards are Yellowstone fans — more than three times the rate as boot skeptics. For many, it’s something of an all-or-nothing approach to the aesthetic.
Official Yellowstone boots aren’t available to purchase at the time of writing, but you can buy apparel through the show’s collaboration with Wrangler. Nearly one-quarter of Yellowstone fans are interested in buying clothing with the series logo — and somewhat remarkably, nearly 15% of viewers who don’t like the show are also interested in these products.
The Paramount Network smash hit is past the halfway point in its fourth season — which tends to be deep into the overall lifetime for many of the great American drama series. But with two spinoffs coming soon and a broad base of prospective viewers, Yellowstone mania might just be getting started.