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‘1883’ Is Paramount+’s Most Watched Original Series Premiere Ever

TV Insider logo TV Insider 12/21/2021 Meredith Jacobs

Taylor Sheridan has another hit on his hands.

1883, the prequel to Yellowstone, was Paramount+’s most watched original series premiere ever, more than double the previous record. It was also the most social drama series Sunday night across streaming. The sampling event on Paramount Network, following a new episode of Yellowstone, was also a hit, drawing 4.9 million total viewers, the biggest new series premiere on cable since 2015.

“The results of 1883’s debut are truly phenomenal,” Tanya Giles, Chief Programming Officer, ViacomCBS Streaming, said in a statement. “The day 1 streaming numbers coupled with the results of the linear sampling effort, and social response from our audience show the tremendous promise for this series. We look forward to continuing on this epic journey with our subscribers.”

Added Chris McCarthy, President and CEO ViacomCBS Media Networks, “the success of Taylor Sheridan’s 1883 is another proof point of our unique model to leverage our linear platforms and franchise our biggest hits to supercharge Paramount+. We went big with 1883 — the Yellowstone prequel — and it delivered big and shattered all records — as both the #1 most watched original series premiere ever on Paramount+ and the biggest new cable premiere since 2015, with nearly five million viewers tuning into Paramount Network Sunday’s airing. Given the tremendous viewership on Paramount Network, I’m confident our strategy of sampling on the Paramount Network will drive awareness and viewers to Paramount+.”

The Mayor of Kingstown premiere — also from Sheridan — also aired on Paramount Network after debuting on the streaming service. At the time, it had also set a new ratings record (until 1883). It had been the #1 original scripted drama on Paramount+ since its rebrand, as well as cable’s biggest scripted premiere since Yellowstone in June 2018 with 2.6 million total viewers.

Sam Elliott as Shea in 1883 © Emerson Miller/Paramount+ Sam Elliott as Shea in 1883

“Getting this show out to audiences in 2021 was an epic undertaking,” said David Glasser, CEO of 101 Studios. “We were presented with an almost impossible set of circumstances but we achieved our goal in record-breaking fashion. That success is due to the dedication of the unbelievably gifted cast, crew, ViacomCBS and the passionate vision and leadership of Taylor Sheridan. 101 Studios could not be more proud to have worked alongside Taylor to shepherd 1883 into the world.”

The 1883 series premiere is already tracking ahead of Yellowstone‘s in key demos (among adults 18-49 and 25-54). Across the night (with premieres, simulcast, and encores), 6.4 million tuned in to 1883.

The prequel follows the Dutton family as they embark on a journey west through the Great Plains toward the last bastion of untamed America. It is a stark retelling of Western expansion, and an intense study of one family fleeing poverty to seek a better future in America’s promised land — Montana.

The cast includes Sam Elliott, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Billy Bob Thornton, Isabel May, LaMonica Garrett, Audie Rick, Marc Rissmann, Eric Nelsen, and James Landry Hébert. 1883 is produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and 101 Studios and executive produced by Sheridan, John Linson, Art Linson, David Glasser, Ron Burkle, and Bob Yari.

1883, Sundays, Paramount+

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