“Yellowstone” is ending after five seasons following the departure of lead actor Kevin Costner, but the franchise will live on in an official sequel spin-off starring Matthew McConaughey. Based on comments by showrunner Taylor Sheridan explaining McConaughey’s “Yellowstone” spin-off, the show should revolve primarily around a group of new characters. That said, according to reporting by Puck, negotiations are underway for three principal “Yellowstone” stars to return in the sequel series. However, lofty demands from two of those actors are holding up that process.
Per the outlet, Sheridan and Paramount want Kayce Dutton actor Luke Grimes, Beth Dutton actor Kelly Reilly, and Rip Wheeler actor Cole Hauser on the new show. How much these returning actors will be paid is allegedly holding up negotiations.
Reilly and her representation initially asked for a $1.5 million per episode salary before dropping that number to $1.2 million — still in the ballpark of some of TV’s highest-paid actors. Meanwhile, Hauser is purportedly looking to make $1.25 million an episode, whereas Paramount offered $850,000 for Season 1 and a 2nd season guarantee at $950,000 an episode. There seems to be plenty of work left to be done before these “Yellowstone” stars and the network reach an agreement.
Just how important are Hauser, Reilly, and Grimes?
According to Puck, Paramount thinks that Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, and Cole Hauser could help the Matthew McConaughey-led spin-off live up to the massive success of “Yellowstone.” Taylor Sheridan’s original idea for the show lacked returning cast members, but the network purportedly convinced him of their importance.
One significant point of contention in the negotiation process is supposedly a component of each actor’s contract stipulating payment for a “Yellowstone” Season 6 — which, of course, is not happening. Paramount is angling for salaries close to, if not matching, the numbers Reilly and Hauser suggest, albeit incorporating their paychecks for the non-existent Season 6. The studio argues this makes sense for the actors because that same salary in a subsequent season will no longer include any money they were already promised. The actors believe that money is already theirs, so this proposal is akin to taking money out of their pockets and offering it back to them.
Both sides may be willing to meet in the middle after hard-fought negotiations. For the time being, it seems that while Paramount wants Luke Grimes, Beth Dutton, and Rip Wheeler in its next big “Yellowstone” project, serious compromises will need to be made to bring this idea to fruition.