Kevin Costner's Western 'Yellowstone' Continues to Earn Big Ratings

The Paramount Network's Yellowstone, starring Kevin Costner, is making massive strides in TV ratings during the normally slow summer months.

Yellowstone saw a big bump in ratings earlier this month, thanks to an influx of viewers in adults between the ages of 18 and 49 — the demographic most advertisers are after. According to a report by TV By The Numbers, the show was helped along by the Live +3 ratings, which measure TV watching habits on DVRs, not just live television.

In the week of July 9-15, Yellowstone reportedly doubled its Nielsen rating from a 0.4 to a 0.8. The July 11 episode also became the second most-watched broadcast of the night, trailing only behind Fox News' Hannity. The western drama had a total of 4.57 million viewers while the news had 5.86 million — admittedly, a substantial lead.

This could be the beginning of a lot of good news for Paramount and Costner. High ratings can generate interest all on their own, snowballing into massive TV hits. On Wednesday, the fourth episode of Yellowstone aired. There are at least three more coming this summer, giving fans plenty of time to jump on board.

The series takes place in modern-day Yellowstone National Park with occasional flashbacks from several years ago. It follows the Dutton family, whose ranch borders a new project. The Duttons own the largest contiguous ranch in the country, and they defend it fiercely from forces on all sides. In addition to the park, this includes a Native American reservation, other ranches and land developers.

Costner plays the family patriarch, John Dutton. It is the first time he has been in the lead on a TV series. Costner is best known for his movie roles, thoug he did have a three-episode arc on Hatfields & McCoys five years ago. Before that, he had rearely set foot on the small screen.

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Those who have seen it appear to be split down the middle on Yellowstone. The show has a 50-percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average of 5.86 out of ten. It has been accused of unearned melodrama, with plots that have not been developed enough in its short run. By all accounts, however, the cast is a delight to watch.

Yellowstone airs on Wednesday nights on the Paramount Network.