Yellowstone ‘ending after fifth season amid disputes with Kevin Costner,’ sources say
The end may be fast approaching for the Paramount Network’s blockbuster series Yellowstone, according to a new report.
The show is set to end after the upcoming second half of its fifth seasons, sources claimed to the New York Post on Monday.
DailyMail.com has reached out to representatives for Paramount.
The issue appears to be a clash between the show’s star Kevin Costner, who has reportedly expressed a desire to significantly cut down on his workload for the fifth season to focus on other projects, and its creator and showrunner Taylor Sheridan, who sources claimed had developed a significant ego after becoming a major player in the film and television industry.
‘It’s the same as with any show runner and big star — there’s respect, but there’s friction,’ a source described as ‘well-placed’ within the production said.
The end? Sources tell the New York Post that Yellowstone will end after the second half of its fifth season, and Kevin Costner may never return to the series; creator Taylor Sheridan seen with Costner in 2018
Adding to the uncertain around the series is the lack of a date to resume filming for the second half of the season, which could be disrupted by an impending shutdown after members of the Writers Guild of America voted to authorize a strike over pay issues.
Another ‘highly placed Hollywood’ source suggested that some of the blame for the ‘friction’ on set lies with its creator.
‘Taylor is the star of his show. He’s the most important person on all of his shows,’ they said.
The first half of the fifth season ended back in January, but so far a date hasn’t even been set yet to start production on the second half, leaving it potentially vulnerable to the likely writers strike.
However, the production source said, ‘We’re hoping it will be worked out. It’s too big a show for things not to be worked out.
‘Hopefully Kevin will return for the remaining episodes, if everyone works together, but it looks like Yellowstone will end after this season.’
But a third source who knows Sheridan seemed to suggest that the writer and director was keeping the negotiations close to the vest, making it difficult to get a sense of what is really going on behind the scenes.
‘Only Taylor truly knows what what is going on,’ they said mysteriously.
Friction: A ‘highly placed Hollywood’ source said part of the issues was Sheridan’s newfound ego after his massive success. But Costner is trying to film his Western film franchise Horizon, which may conflict with Yellowstone’s shooting schedule; still from Yellowstone
According to the Hollywood source, it was Sheridan’s relatively late-in-life rise to prominence in the industry that has fueled his ‘ego.’
‘Taylor spent years not being truly appreciated in Hollywood, and now that he’s the top of the heap, there’s definitely some ego to all of this,’ they said.
Deadline reported in February that Costner wanted to shoot for only a week on the second half of season five, after he head already shortened his work on the first half.
The apparent reason was that the actor wanted to focus on his upcoming Western film franchise Horizon.
But Costner’s attorney Marty Singer shot back after the report and claimed to Puck News that it was an ‘absolute lie’ that his client would only shoot for a week.
‘As everyone who knows anything about Kevin is well aware, he is incredibly passionate about the show and has always gone way above and beyond to ensure its success,’ he said at the time.
And the Hollywood source seemed to confirm Costner’s willingness to go back to work, though in this case it was allegedly Sheridan’s lack of preparation that got in the way of things.
They said that Costner was prepared to shoot the second half of the season sometime last year, as well as in January of this year, but there were allegedly no completed scripts to shoot at the time.
‘Kevin’s been extremely cooperative with working with Taylor and his production company, 101 Studios. They were supposed to shoot the second chapter of Season five late last year, but they just didn’t have the scripts,’ the Hollywood source claimed.
Nothing to work with? The Hollywood source also claimed Costner was able to shoot last year and in January 2023, but both times Sheridan had not delivered any scripts to shoot; Sheridan and Costner seen with Kelly Reilly in 2018
Nowhere to go: ‘Kevin had already committed to making his other movies … In the entertainment industry, you can’t keep yourself in a holding pattern and available while the producers are not getting their act together with the scripts,’ the source claimed; still from Yellowstone
They added that Sheridan was ‘overburdened’ and ‘nothing was ready’ even after Costner ‘made himself available.
‘Kevin had already committed to making his other movies. He had given the producers his schedule,’ they said, explaining, ‘In the entertainment industry, you can’t keep yourself in a holding pattern and available while the producers are not getting their act together with the scripts. There was nothing to shoot.’
Sheridan has significantly expanded his reach in recent years. Although he wrote and directed the entirety of Yellowstone’s first season, he stepped back in subsequent seasons and let other directors fill in, though he continued to write or co-write almost every script.
But he has added several more shows to his portfolio, all of which have significant creative input from him.
In 2021, his Jeremy Renner–starring series Mayor Of Kingstown premiered, and Sheridan directed two episodes and wrote the entire first season, before decreasing his load on the second season.
He then directed the pilot and wrote every episode of his Yellowstone prequel series 1883, and he has also written every episode of the subsequent prequel series 1923.
In 2022, Sheridan created the Sylvester Stallone–starring series Tulsa King, which he wrote the pilot for, and he created and is serving as showrunner on the upcoming spy series Lioness, starring Nicole Kidman and Zoë Saldaña.
The next series Sheridan has created is the Western Bass Reeves, starring David Oyelowo and Dennis Quaid, which he is set to direct the pilot for.
Paramount seems to be hedging its bets on Costner. Despite Paramount Network President Keith Cox saying he was ‘very confident [Costner]’s going to continue with our show,’ the network is moving forward on a Yellowstone spinoff starring Matthew McConaughey, which will go on whether or not Yellowstone continues.
However, Paramount may have a financial incentive for Yellowstone to end. The series airs live on the Paramount Network, but it streams on the NBC’s service Peacock due to a licensing deal.
Peacock retains the streaming rights to Yellowstone for four years after its final episode airs, meaning that the long the show goes on, the long it can hold on to its exclusive.
Very busy: Sheridan has significantly expanded his reach in recent years. He has created multiple other shows for Paramount, and he regularly directs episodes, writes many of them and even showruns some of them; still from Yellowstone
Money issue: Paramount may want to let Yellowstone end, as Peacock controls streaming rights to it, while Paramount has full control of all its spinoffs and other shows from Sheridan; still from Yellowstone
However, the subsequent Yellowstone spinoffs — and other Sheridan shows — air on the Paramount+ streamer.
‘Paramount doesn’t want Yellowstone on the air for more than another year [and competing with their shows]. They’d prefer to have a new [Sheridan] show with Paramount+,’ the Hollywood source explained.
They added: ‘It’s a great show for Kevin. It pays him a lot of money and it helped reinvigorate him.’
One silver lining that multiple sources mentioned was that the potential writers strike might allow Sheridan and Costner to continue hammering out a comprise to keep Yellowstone going.