The fate of “Yellowstone” remains in question after another report suggested the folks behind the hit-ranching drama are frustrated with star Kevin Costner and have become mired in an availability conflict.
But Costner’s attorney, Marty Singer, pushed back a Puck report Tuesday that said the lead actor is making the show’s production challenging by reducing the amount of time he was willing to put Paramount Network’s flagship series on location in to rotate Montana.
“The idea that Kevin only wanted to work on the second half of Yellowstone Season 5 for a week is an absolute lie,” Singer told the Times Thursday. “It’s ridiculous – and anyone who suggests it shouldn’t be believed for a second.”
“As anyone who knows anything about Kevin knows, he is incredibly passionate about the show and has always done everything to ensure its success,” he said.
The top-rated ranching drama is entering its fifth season and the mid-season finale will air in January. According to Puck’s Matthew Belloni, the season was originally intended to be 10 episodes, but was expanded to 16 to be filmed in two installments. The 68-year-old Costner, a two-time Oscar winner, had reportedly “negotiated short filming windows” and may have complicated production of the series “due to its reliance on outdoor shooting on the shooting range.”
Season 5 was supposed to be fully filmed in 2022 but was delayed for a variety of reasons — depending on who you ask. Puck cited some sources as saying Costner contracted COVID-19 after his promotional trip to the Calgary Stampede Rodeo in July 2022 and continued to push back filming, but he still burdened the production with workdays. Others said that Yellowstone co-creator Taylor Sheridan, who was reportedly busy with several other projects, didn’t deliver the scripts on time and kept pushing the schedule. Another told the site that the Dances With Wolves star did exactly what his contract required.
“As we’ve said before, Kevin was a key component in the success of our ‘Yellowstone’ series, and we hope that continues from now on,” a Paramount Network spokesman told The Times in a statement Thursday.
The future of the ever-expanding Western has been up in the air since Deadline reported earlier this month that the show would end when Paramount Global and Paramount Network focused on another Sheridan spinoff series, starring Matthew McConaughey would.
However, a source close to the production denied that report and said the series, which debuted in 2018 and focuses on Costner as the patriarch of the Dutton family, will continue.
“We have no news to report. Kevin Costner is a big part of ‘Yellowstone’ and we hope that will be the case for a long time to come,” a Paramount Network spokesman added in a statement to The Times. “Thanks to the brilliant mind of Taylor Sheridan, we continue to work on franchise expansions of this incredible world he built.”
Puck also reported that Sheridan and the cast, crew, and executives behind the hit series have been angered by Costner’s ego and unavailability for years, suggesting that Paramount Chair Shari Redstone and Chief Executive Bob Bakish are willing to accept other offers in the to Support Sheridan Verse.
The rumored McConaughey series would be Paramount Network’s latest attempt to expand the world of Sheridan’s “Yellowstone.” In December 2021, the network introduced the limited-edition prequel, 1883, starring Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill; in December 2022 came the series “1923” starring Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford.
In August 2021, Paramount Network announced that its strategy is to make “Yellowstone” “a global hit franchise,” with plans to debut spinoff series on Paramount+ to fuel the growth of its nascent streaming platform.
Alexandra Del Rosario, a Times contributor, contributed to this report.