Taylor Sheridan’s Series Originally Had Robert Redford Committed At HBO

Dec 22, 2022

Five seasons in, Taylor Sheridan‘s “Yellowstone” remains a TV sensation, with two prequels already out and two more on the way. And based on the response this past weekend to the premiere of “1923,” the second “Yellowstone” prequel, Sheridan won’t slow down any time soon. The debut episode of “1923” is Paramount+‘s biggest premiere ever, bringing in 7.4 million viewers. Those are HBO numbers right there.
READ MORE: ‘1923’ Review: Harrison Ford & Helen Mirren Light Up Taylor Sheridan’s Otherwise Familiar ‘Yellowstone’ Spin-Off
And believe it or not, “Yellowstone” was almost an HBO show, with Robert Redford in Kevin Costner‘s role as ranch patriarch. In a new interview with Sheridan, Deadline reports that the premium TV network once had rights to the hit series, but Mike Lombardo, the production chief at the time, wasn’t wild about the show. After delivering the pilot script to HBO, Sheridan said Lombardo dismissively told him he needed Redford even to have a chance. So Sheridan contacted Redford and got the actor to commit to the series. But Lombardo remained low on the show, saying he meant an actor like Redford.  
HBO let Sheridan’s pilot script languish because it didn’t reflect the network’s sensibilities. Eventually, however, Sheridan got back the rights to the show–a day before Lombardo exited as production chief. After that, well, Paramount Network gave the show a chance, and the rest is history. Since its premiere in 2018, “Yellowstone” has become a touchstone of contemporary TV culture. The show’s in the midst of its fifth season, which won’t be the last. And after “1923,” which has two seasons, there’s two more prequel series on the way: “6666” and “1883: The Bass Reeves” story.
Of course, Sheridan has other TV shows beyond his “Yellowstone” empire, too. There’s “Mayor Of Kingstown” with Jeremy Renner, which has its Season 2 premiere next month. And there’s “Tulsa King” with Sylvester Stallone, which premiered last month. Also on the way: the CIA thriller series “Lioness” with Nicole Kidman, currently in post-production.
Do HBO and Mike Lombardo wish they bet on “Yellowstone” now? Probably a safe bet they regret their decision not to greenlight the show. But Sheridan has no ill will toward the network or Lombardo. After the success he’s had the past four years, how could he?

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