Everything’s coming up Yellowstone these days, which is an exaggeration, sure, but it sure does feel accurate sometimes. The Paramount Network show is the biggest cable hit since The Walking Dead, and this has prompted Paramount to quadruple down on related offerings, including the Sam Elliott-starring 1883 spinoff. Elliott strangely isn’t a fan of Yellowstone proper, but no matter. The universe keeps churning, and Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan has a string of projects on the way, including Tulsa King with Sylvester Stallone.
Sheridan sat down with for a Variety cover story, where he discussed keeping all of his success in perspective. Actually, he thinks that Yellowstone‘s success has plenty to do with a lack of other pandemic viewing options during lockdown. Really! He remarked upon how he doesn’t think networks are imitating Yellowstone out of flattery but to capitalize upon the trend, and then Sheridan kept things humble:
“So I don’t know that it’s flattering, because I don’t think they’re doing it because ‘Yellowstone’ is good. They’re doing it because 15 million people watch it. And they’re like: ‘A lot of people watch Westerns. Let’s make Westerns’… Because everyone had watched virtually everything else in about six weeks” when the lockdowns began, they eventually found themselves with nothing else to watch but “Yellowstone.”
Sheridan also revealed how he doesn’t believe that his current work volume is “sustainable,” but he’s seizing the moment because the “opportunity to tell stories the way I want to tell them with a creative freedom that just doesn’t exist in this space.” Those are wise words, and that’s pretty much what happened with how Sheridan created Tulsa King, for which he wrote the script during early lockdown days. Then the “bit stir-crazy” Stallone read it within a day of receipt before declaring, “I love it. When do we shoot it?'” And the rest shall be TV history.