Taylor Sheridan’s “Yellowstone” franchise has often been painted as “red state” shows, but he’s loudly refuted this. Still, the false perception lingers, which has led folks on both sides of the WGA/AMPTP dispute to wonder where the wildly popular storyteller’s labor allegiances lie.
Sheridan has yet to voice his support for the strike, but this could be due to the extremely awkward situation that exists between Paramount and Kevin Costner. “Yellowstone” is on the cusp of completing its final, bifurcated fifth season, which should be a ratings-soaring victory lap. Alas, the studio has yet to lock down the participation of the show’s mercurial star, and he’s playing some serious Crash Davis hardball.
This is the rare negotiation where Sheridan might lack leverage. For starters, the Academy Award-winning Costner wants input into how his character, John Dutton, exits Sheridan’s saga. According to Matthew Belloni, the star also wants to wrap up his involvement swiftly. This means Sheridan almost certainly didn’t finish the scripts for the back half of season 5 prior to the strike. For a season that was initially scheduled to begin airing its episodes in June, this is not ideal.
Given Sheridan’s prolificness, it’s possible that he wrote out every possible narrative outcome in advance of Costner’s deal. But if he didn’t, would he scab to keep his ever-expanding franchise on track?