After a lot of hype and anticipation, the “Yellowstone” prequel “1923” premiered on Paramount+ to a record audience.
Paramount Global reported that 7.4 million people tuned in to the premiere episode Sunday, including viewers from three Paramount Network telecasts, CMT, and streaming on Paramount+, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The series stars Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren as ancestors of the Dutton family made famous by the hit show, “Yellowstone.” This latest iteration follows the family as they run a sprawling Montana cattle ranch a few years after World War I and during Prohibition. It is chock full of cowboys, danger, dreams, family values, and an impending sense of doom as the Great Depression looms.
“Anchored by Taylor Sheridan’s incredible vision and the performances of legends Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford, we felt confident this next chapter of the Dutton Family origin story would resonate with audiences,” chief programming officer Tanya Giles said of the viewership results.
“We are thrilled with the record-breaking early response to the first episode and can’t wait to introduce more audiences to this incredible journey of perseverance, heartbreak and adventure set amongst the backdrop of the Mountain West,” she continued.
President and CEO of Paramount Media Networks Chris McCarthy agreed, saying, “The Yellowstone universe continues to break records, with our latest chapter, ‘1923’ scoring as the most watched premiere ever on Paramount+ and debuting as the #1 new cable premiere of the year on linear.”
He credited Sheridan for the success, saying the showrunner is able “to tap a cultural nerve that has proven irresistible to viewers from across the country and around the world, with this newest installment showing no signs of slowing down.”
Ford, who stars as Jacob Dutton, previously revealed why he agreed to take on this role. He said playing a rancher who has to fight to protect his family and land was easy enough to accomplish, given his previous experience.
“I don’t want to reinvent myself,” the 80-year-old Hollywood mainstay said. “I just want to work.”
The “Yellowstone” franchise has won favor with conservative audiences even though Sheridan said that was never his intention. “They refer to it as ‘the conservative show’ or ‘the Republican show’ or ‘the red-state Game of Thrones,’ ” he previously told The Atlantic.
“And I just sit back laughing. I’m like, ‘Really?’ The show’s talking about the displacement of Native Americans and the way Native American women were treated and about corporate greed and the gentrification of the West, and land-grabbing. That’s a red-state show?”