‘1883’: ‘Yellowstone’ Prequel Sets Paramount+ Premiere Record, Draws 4.9 Million Viewers On Paramount Network

The Sunday premiere of the Yellowstone prequel, 1883, set a new record as Paramount+ most watched original series premiere, more than doubling the previous viewership record across the service’s owned and operated platforms, with additional third party reporting still to come, the ViacomCBS streaming platform said without providing any ratings data.

Supporting the company’s claim for 1883‘s big debut on Paramount+ over the first 24 hours of release is the delivery of the premiere’s airing behind Yellowstone on Paramount Network. The promotional linear telecast drew strong 4.9 million total viewers in Live+Same Day, according to Nielsen, making it the biggest new series premiere on cable since 2015 (AMC’s Into the Badlands, which followed juggernaut The Walking Dead at the height of its ratings supremacy).

1883, created and executive produced by Yellowstone co-creator/EP Taylor Sheridan, held onto impressive 65% of its big Yellowstone lead-in (7.5 million).

For comparison, another new Taylor Sheridan drama series for Paramount+, The Mayor Of Kingstown, logged 2.6 million viewers for the special airing behind Yellowstone (7.5 million) on Paramount+ for a 35% retention. (Into the Badlands premiere’s TWD lead-in retention was 50%).

Paramount+ last week revealed that The Mayor Of Kingstown was the service’s most watched new original series debut over the first 30 days, so it’s likely that Sheridan would have the No.1 and No.2 original series debuts on Paramount+ with 1883 and The Mayor Of Kingstown. 

“The results of 1883’s debut are truly phenomenal,” said Tanya Giles, Chief Programming Officer, ViacomCBS Streaming. “The day 1 streaming numbers coupled with the results of the linear sampling effort, and social response from our audience show the tremendous promise for this series.”

Across Sunday night, including the premiere airing on Paramount Network and simulcast on CMT as well as encores, 1883 amassed 6.4 million viewers. (5.5 million for the Paramount Network premiere and the simulcast) Powered by the Yellowstone lead-in, the 1883 premiere is tracking ahead of Yellowstone series premiere by +125% with P18-49 (1.49 vs. 0.66) and +135% with P25-54 (2.39 vs. 1.02)

1883, produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and 101 Studios, also marked the most social drama series Sunday night across streaming, according to data from Talkwalker Social Content Ratings.

“The success of Taylor Sheridan’s 1883 is another proof point of our unique model to leverage our linear platforms and franchise our biggest hits to supercharge Paramount+,” said Chris McCarthy, President and CEO ViacomCBS Media Networks.

Created by Sheridan, 1883 stars Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Billy Bob Thornton, Isabel May and LaMonica Garrett, Audie Rick, Marc Rissmann, Eric Nelsen and James Landry Hébert.

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 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 series is executive produced by Sheridan, John Linson, Art Linson, David Glasser, Ron Burkle and Bob Yari.

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