John Dutton Yellowstone
Credit: Paramount Plus screenshot

We have good news and bad news. The fate of Yellowstone has finally been revealed – and the neo-Western show is nearing its end. But thankfully, we won’t have to say goodbye to all of our favorites just yet. Wondering why is Yellowstone cancelled? Keep reading to find out if Kevin Costner played a role.

Yellowstone, Paramount’s successful Western drama co-created by Taylor Sheridan and John Linson, follows the real-life Dutton family who own and operate the Yellowstone Dutton Ranch in the state of Montana. The fan-favorite series premiered in 2018 and features Kevin Costner as John Dutton III, the six-generation patriarch of the Dutton family. Throughout the series, John and his family are constantly protecting the Yellowstone ranch from those attempting to take their land, including an Indian reservation and wealthy land developers.

The show was swiftly renewed for Season 5 after a record-breaking Season 4 finale. “Yellowstone continues to shatter records with more than 11 million viewers tuning in for the season finale, proving we’ve hit a cultural nerve—from the center of the country to each of the coasts—and still have lots of room to grow on linear,” said Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Media Networks, when the fifth season was renewed.

Season 5 kicked off with a two-hour premiere in November 2022 on the Paramount Network. We saw the first eight episodes and an explosive mid-season 5 finale on January 1, 2023. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight in September 2022, Sheridan teased that more characters will die in the current season. “If you look at everyone as a chess piece, in Season 5 it is impossible to keep playing the game without taking pieces off the board,” he said. The mid-season finale focused on the rivalry between John, Beth Dutton (Kelly Reilly) and Jamie Dutton (Wes Bentley). It was recently announced that the final episodes of Season 5 will be released sometime in November 2023.

So, why is Yellowstone cancelled after five seasons? See the answer, below, plus the latest information about the new Matthew McConaughey spinoff coming to the Paramount Network and Paramount Plus.

Is Yellowstone ending after Season 5?

Is Yellowstone ending after Season 5? The answer is yes, Yellowstone is ending after Season 5. Our sister publication Variety reported on May 5, 2023, that Yellowstone is ending after the current season and there will not be a Season 6. The remaining episodes of Season 5, part 2 – which were originally supposed to be released in the summer of 2023 – are now slated to come in November 2023. (It looks like filming delays, which we reported on in April 2023, pushed the timeline back a few months.)

Sources told The Hollywood Reporter in February 2023 that the second part of Yellowstone was set to start filming in March 2023, but the date was moved back due to drama surrounding Costner’s exit. (Read more on the Yellowstone/Costner drama, below.)

Why is Yellowstone cancelled?

Cast of Yellowstone Season 5

Why is Yellowstone cancelled? Rumors started circulating back in February 2023 that Yellowstone was nearing its end. Deadline reported at the time that co-creator and showrunner Taylor Sheridan, Paramount Global and Paramount Network were moving to replace the show with a franchise extension led by Matthew McConaughey. In May 2023, Paramount officially confirmed that the sequel series is happening (and the new show is coming sooner than you think).

Yellowstone has been the cornerstone on which we have launched an entire universe of global hits – from 1883 to Tulsa King, and I am confident our Yellowstone sequel will be another big hit, thanks to the brilliant creative mind of Taylor Sheridan and our incredible casts who bring these shows to life,” McCarthy said in a statement.

Paramount added that the new sequel series, which is currently untitled, will debut on Paramount Network and Paramount Plus in December 2023. It was initially reported that Matthew McConaughey will lead the new extension series (which was later confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on March 28, 2023, by McCarthy). The plot and casting details of the sequel are tightly under wraps, but some of the existing Yellowstone cast is expected to move over to the new show. The cast includes Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Cole Hauser, Kelsey Asbille, Gil Birmingham and more.

Due to the success of Yellowstone’s prequels, 1883 and 1923, Deadline also reported that the Paramount Network isn’t as dependent on the Costner-led show as it used to be. Sheridan is even working on another Yellowstone spinoff, 6666, and two limited series based on the Dutton Ranch in the 1940s and 1960s.

Additionally, the cost of producing Yellowstone is rumored to be quite expensive. The New York Post reported on May 8, 2023, that Sheridan “spending habits” on the show caused “internal frustration.” According to the The Wall Street Journal, Sheridan is not only paid to write, direct and produce Yellowstone, but he’s also paid tens of thousands of dollars per week for his companies and services, including a “Cowboy Camp” where his actors go under intense training to prepare for their roles. The report also says that Sheridan rents cattle to Paramount at $25 a head and charges the network up to $50,000 per week to film on the ranches that he already owns. On top of that, he supposedly billed the studio $3,000 to pay a wrangler in Texas who was looking after his own horses, despite being 1,600 miles away from set, and allegedly made similar requests rather than using local resources.

The Journal reported that Paramount and 101 executives were concerned about the showrunner’s massive expenses, which also extends to the Yellowstone prequels, streaming on Paramount Plus, that Sheridan also created. For example, 1923 can cost up to $22 million to produce each episode, the report said. Despite this, a Paramount spokesperson told The Journal: “Taylor’s shows are among our most successful and profitable.”

Is Kevin Costner the reason for Yellowstone ending?

"Yellowstone," Kevin Costner

Is Kevin Costner the reason for Yellowstone ending? The truth is that we’re not sure, but sources close to the production of Yellowstone said that there was “friction” between Costner and Sheridan. “It’s the same as with any showrunner and big star — there’s respect, but there’s friction,” a production source told The Post in April 2023. Additionally, sources exclusively told The Daily Mail in April 2023 Sheridan developed a “god complex” on the show, which also caused tension with Costner. “Certain people in charge of the production developed a God complex,” the source said.

The insider also alleged that Sheridan told Costner to “stick to acting” when he raised questions about the future of Yellowstone. “He just felt like Yellowstone is headed in a direction that was not in line with their initial vision and he was met with criticism, including that he should just stick to acting,” the source said about Costner’s concerns. The Daily Mail reached out to representatives for Costner, Sheridan and Paramount for comment.

Production sources told Entertainment Tonight in May 2023 that Kevin Costner is expected to exit the series after Season 5. The issues surrounding Costner and Yellowstone allegedly have to do with the actor’s scheduling conflicts while filming. According to sources obtained by Variety, “The issue seems to be Costner’s shooting schedule, with Costner being available for fewer days as the show has progressed.”

Sources told Deadline similar information, which stated that “Costner, who had originally limited himself to 65 days of shooting on Yellowstone, only wanted to shoot for 50 days for the first part of the current season. This scheduling conflict has supposedly impacted the second batch of episodes in the show’s current fifth season, as Costner “only wanted to spend a week shooting.”

The actor’s lawyer, Marty Singer, spoke with Puck.News and shut down claims that Costner halted the second season’s production. “The idea that Kevin was only willing to work one week on the second half of Season 5 of Yellowstone is an absolute lie,” he said. Singer also called the allegations “ridiculous — and anyone suggesting it shouldn’t be believed for one second.”

Costner is currently busy directing and starring in the Western “epic” Horizon, a four-part feature film picked up by Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema. Horizon has a demanding shooting schedule of 220 days, which could be contributing to the actor’s tight schedule. Costner told Variety last year that it could take eight months to shoot the multi-film project. The first part started shooting in the fall of 2022, while filming for the subsequent three films will take place in April 2023 “with the trio of titles shooting at the same time.”

You can watch Yellowstone, 1883, and 1932 on the Paramount Network, which is available to stream on services including Fubo TV, Philo TV, and Hulu+ With Live TV. The first four seasons of Yellowstone are also available to stream on Peacock.

Wondering about Kevin Costner’s salary on Yellowstone? Check out our gallery below to see how much each actor, including Costner, makes per episode of Yellowstone!