Yellowstone Would Not Have Happened Without Harvey Weinstein


Taylor Sheridan had grown tired of trying to make it as an actor and decided to try his hand at screenwriting. He had become fairly successful by the time he pitched Yellowstone, which would later be known as a nepo babies show, to HBO. However, the network declined, believing that a series about ranchers and life in Montana would not be successful.

Fast-forward several months later, and Sheridan had written the first two scripts for Yellowstone. Those scripts were purchased by the Weinstein Company. Harvey Weinstein, who no longer has contact with his kids as a result of his abuse of women over the years, personally got in touch with Paramount Network, which was looking to develop its first drama franchise for the network to pitch not only Yellowstone but several other projects waiting to find a home to be greenlit.

There was no contest when it came to comparing the other projects against Yellowstone. Not only was the head of development a fan of Sheridan’s work, but he also saw the promise in franchise success for the series—a franchise that may have never been realized had Weinstein not pitched it. This begs the question of whether Weinstein is to be credited for the success of Yellowstone.

Harvey Weinstein Was A Producer On ‘Yellowstone’

Before Weinstein was publicly accused of harassment, indecent behavior, and finally assault, he was a high-profile and very successful producer who sat at the head of The Weinstein Company.

While Weinstein had a reputation for dismantling scripts until they no longer looked like the original version of themselves, he was also known for giving those without much experience a chance.

Despite Sheridan’s success with Hell or High Water and Sicario, he was having a hard time selling networks on his vision of Yellowstone. However, Weinstein saw the genius in Sheridan’s work and used his clout after Sheridan took his idea and turned it into script form to get larger studios to take notice.

This is exactly what happened when Keith Cox, President of Development & Production for Paramount Network and TV Land took a meeting with Weinstein to peruse scripts and saw Yellowstone. Cox was immediately blown away by what he read.

“It was on the page, beautifully written, cinematic, big scope, very complicated,” Cox explained “It’s about that big, dysfunctional but exciting, sexy family based in Montana. That to me is exactly what I was looking for in a Paramount drama. I wanted to do something grounded, very authentic but very Americana, harkening back to these big, exciting fun dysfunctional families and also celebrating the heartland, the Midwest.”

Cox went on to say, “It was important as I knew that the first drama purchase was going to say a lot. I wanted it to be big but I also wanted it to be really meaningful. I wanted to find a great franchise that really defines the network, and I honestly believe that Yellowstone is that show.”

Shortly after Paramount decided to purchase the rights for the series, Kevin Costner came aboard the project, which essentially sealed the fate that Yellowstone would be a success. Again, thanks to Weinstein being a producer on the project that was a long-time-coming collaboration between himself and Costner.

“Taylor Sheridan wrote a giant of a character in lead John Dutton,” Weinstein said. “There was only one actor who could be transformational — Kevin Costner. This is a coup for the show and fulfills a joint promise that Kevin and I made — that we would find a mutual project to work on.”

It would just be a mere several months later when Weinstein would be publicly disgraced for his actions against women in the industry. As a result of those allegations that would become charges and then a sentence of life in prison for Weinstein, Yellowstone distanced themselves from the producer.


After Harvey Weinstein Was Charged, ‘Yellowstone’ Distanced Themselves From Him

It was announced in May 2017 that Paramount, in conjunction with The Weinstein Company would be producing Yellowstone. Just eight months later, Paramount would be doing damage control to distance itself from Weinstein and attempt to save the projects they had collaborated with TWC on.

“What happened there, what Harvey did, is disgusting and it’s disheartening,” Kevin Kay of Paramount explained. “We immediately said we don’t want any part of that, our talent doesn’t want any part of that, our creators don’t want any part of that. So that man will not be associated with our projects.”

The reason that Weinstein and The Weinstein Company were able to be removed from the credits for both Yellowstone and Waco had to do with the fact that Weinstein was not “involved in their respective creative processes.”

While having Weinstein attached to a project with Paramount did not help the network with its original programming, it also was not the reason that Yellowstone came to an end.

Yellowstone and Paramount not only rebounded from the Weinstein scandal, but the show became a huge success. Instead, it was the show’s star, Costner that caused Yellowstone to come to an end.

Kevin Costner, Not Harvey Weinstein, Is The Reason ‘Yellowstone’ Is Coming To An End

After Yellowstone concluded a very successful Season Five Part One, fans were waiting to hear when Season Five Part Two would begin shooting. Initially promised to have Part Two premiere in the summer of 2023, as of April 2023, nothing had been shot.

Just one month later, it was revealed that Costner would not be returning to Yellowstone after Season Five Part Two concluded, but instead, a spin-off of the series would be coming to the network instead.

“Yellowstone’ has been the cornerstone on which we have launched an entire universe of global hits – from ‘1883’ to ‘Tulsa King,’ and I am confident our ‘Yellowstone’ sequel will be another big hit, thanks to the brilliant creative mind of Taylor Sheridan and our incredible casts who bring these shows to life,” Chris McCarthy of Paramount said.

David Glasser of 101 Studios went on to say, “The Dutton story continues, picking up where ‘Yellowstone’ leaves off in another epic tale. We are thrilled to bring this new journey to audiences around the world.”

Speculation has run rampant since Costner, who once tried to work outside the entertainment industry only to realize his love of acting and writing, announced his departure from Yellowstone as to what the reason was.

From Costner wanting to shoot the entirety of Season Five in one week versus two parts so he could work on his four-movie saga, Horizon, to wanting more money, and even having the right to veto a script he did not like from Sheridan, the reasons have been all over the board.

Just what Season Five Part Two will look like or when it will air is anyone’s guess. Between the WGA strike just recently ending to the SAG-AFTRA strike potentially going into 2024, both Yellowstone and its spin-off have been put on hold.

As such, the drama with Costner and the series will continue until Season Five can be put to rest, the series can conclude, and production can begin with the highly-anticipated series starring Matthew McConaughey. Stay tuned!