Breakout hit ‘Yellowstone’ snubbed again at the Emmys

A man in cowboy boots and a cowboy hat sits in a director's chair next to a tent.
Kevin Costner in “Yellowstone.”
(Cam McLeod / Paramount Network)

When “Yellowstone” first premiered in 2018, it looked like a long shot.

And at the Emmys, it still is. The Television Academy on Tuesday once again snubbed the drama about the wealthy owner of a Montana ranch and his troubled family, leaving it out of the drama series category and star Kevin Costner out of the lead actor race.

Past winners ‘Succession’ and ‘Ted Lasso’ and newcomers ‘Squid Game’ and ‘Abbott Elementary’ were among the leading 2022 Emmy nominees.

July 12, 2022


The culmination of discussions between Costner and executive producer Taylor Sheridan about collaborating on a project in the spirit of classic western shows they’d had both watched growing up, “Yellowstone’s” prospects seemed risky at the start.

More than five decades had passed since the heyday of TV westerns, when shows such as “Bonanza,” “The Rifleman,” “Gunsmoke,” “The Big Valley,” “The Virginian” and “Have Gun — Will Travel” were a dominant force on television. The cast was largely unknown. The star power of Costner, an Oscar winner who was once one of Hollywood’s top draws, would be tested. The show would help kick off a relaunched basic cable network to be called the Paramount Network.

But with its complex family dynamics, panoramic beauty, generous doses of sex and violence and Costner’s weather-beaten toughness at the center, “Yellowstone” won over critics and audiences. The show has blossomed into a solid breakout, ending last year as TV’s most popular scripted series and drawing an average 11 million total viewers during its fourth season, according to Nielsen statistics.

The success of “Yellowstone” has sparked its own universe. The prequel “1883,” which debuted in December and starred country music’s superstar couple Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, was the most-watched premiere on Paramount+ before it was toppled by the sci-fi drama “Halo” this spring. Another spinoff, “6666,” and an “1883” follow-up with the working title “1932” and starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren have also been announced.

“Yellowstone’s” stature at the Emmys has not followed suit. As awards columnist Glenn Whipp wrote in his nominations predictions, “Yellowstone’s” first three seasons earned just one Emmy nomination — production design for a narrative contemporary program — and lost. (Costner previously received an Emmy for History Channel’s 2012 miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys.”) The series will have another shot at a major statuette next year, though: Season 5 of “Yellowstone” is expected this fall.