The “Yellowstone” CBS experiment is falling apart.
On Sunday night, the Kevin Costner series got 4.3 million viewers for its first season rerun run on the Tiffany network.
Last week, the premiere of “Yellowstone” got about 7.5 viewers during its first hour, and a little less during the second for an average of 8.2 million.
Last May, the final episode of season 5, part 1 had over 8 million viewers on the Paramount Network.
Of course, “Yellowstone” season 1 has been available forever on DVD and streaming. In fact, last night Peacock ran two commercials during the show inviting fans to come watch it without commercials.
Last night fans also got to see something that’s an FCC no-no on broadcast TV: smoking. Beth Dutton, the hardcore central character played so brilliantly by Kelly Reilly, was puffing away without abandon. Her brother (Wes Bentley) mentioned cancer, but she wasn’t having it. Cigarette commercials were banned by the FCC 5 decades ago for the major networks. Characters smoking on screen is rarer than rare. “Mad Men” had it but they were on cable. “Mrs. Maisel” was on Amazon.
But CBS? No, no, no.
“Yellowstone” is also full of almost R rated stuff sexually. It’s way more than a broadcast show would ever be allowed by CBS on a Sunday night. The smoking, the sex — CBS is stuck with it until new primetime shows are trotted out after the SAG and WGA strikes. This “Yellowstone” experiment was out of necessity.
I guess “Yellowstone” fans know all about Beth and her smoking. Someone put together a compilation of her best moments.