1883: Yellowstone Spinoff Gives Paramount+ Its Biggest Ever Original Premiere

The faith in Taylor Sheridan and the Yellowstone franchise seems to be paying off for Paramount+. The streaming service released the first two episodes of 1883, the Yellowstone prequel series, on Sunday, following a long and expensive marketing campaign. The big push worked, as 1883 delivered the biggest series premiere ever for Paramount+, making it an instant hit and one of the streamer's new tentpole titles. 

1883 is a western series with a massive budget behind it and an all-star cast in front of the camera. Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Sam Elliott, Lamonica Garrett, and Isabel May all star in the series as settlers making their way across the country on a treacherous wagon trail to Oregon. The story examines the first members of the Dutton family to journey to Montana, eventually founding the Yellowstone Ranch.

In addition to the first two episodes debuting on Paramount+, the first episode of 1883 aired on the Paramount Network after the latest episode of Yellowstone. 4.9 million viewers tuned in to watch the live telecast and a total of 6.4 million watched the episode over the course of the night. The second episode will air on Paramount Network next week, but the rest of the season will be premiering exclusively on Paramount+.

"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. We look forward to continuing on this epic journey with our subscribers."

"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. "We went big with 1883 – the Yellowstone prequel – and it delivered big and shattered all records – as both the #1 most watched original series premiere ever on Paramount+ and the biggest new cable premiere since 2015, with nearly five million viewers tuning into Paramount Network Sunday's airing. Given the tremendous viewership on Paramount Network, I'm confident our strategy of sampling on the Paramount Network will drive awareness and viewers to Paramount+."

"Getting this show out to audiences in 2021 was an epic undertaking," David Glasser, CEO of 101 Studios. "We were presented with an almost impossible set of circumstances but we achieved our goal in record-breaking fashion. That success is due to the dedication of the unbelievably gifted cast, crew, ViacomCBS and the passionate vision and leadership of Taylor Sheridan. 101 Studios could not be more proud to have worked alongside Taylor to shepherd 1883 into the world."

What did you think of the 1883 premiere? Let us know in the comments!