'Yellowstone': Here's Who Cole Hauser Credits for the Show's Initial Success

It's no secret that Taylor Sheridan's Yellowstone has been a massive success. Premiering on Paramount Network back in June 2018, throughout its first three seasons the western drama has already become one of the most-watched cable programs and has scored two spinoffs - the prequel series 1883 and the second spinoff 6666 - as well as the Sheridan-created series Mayor of Kingstown. The show has one thing in particular to credit for its success, according to series star Cole Hauser.

Hauser, who stars as Rip Wheeler on the drama, reflected on Yellowstone's fanfare and critical acclaim in a recent interview with Cowboys & Indians ahead of the Season 4 premiere on Sunday, Nov. 7. The actor said he realized the series was a massive hit with viewers after just the series premiere. While Yellowstone "started as a very grassroots show" and "obviously wasn't what it is now," Hauser recalled how "there were people throughout the country who were watching very closely right out of the gates." The actor theorized that Kevin Costner, who portrays Dutton patriarch John Dutton, was to credit for that, partially due to "the great body of work that he has behind him. And not only the body of work, but the westerns that he's done, like Dances With Wolves - wonderful stuff that he's created."

"It brought in this audience that has been watching him, I think, for a very long time. And then I think it's bled into the younger crowd, which has really been cool to see over the last couple of years," Hauser said. "There are more and more younger people coming up to me and talking about this show than there were initially. I mean, I was at a high school football game the other day here in Florida, and I was shocked that 16-year-olds, 14-year-olds, 18-year-olds - male and female - are watching the show and are blown away and love it. It wasn't that way initially."

Yellowstone's success was immediate. It's first season made the show the most-watched cable TV series of summer 2018, but its success didn't stop there. By the end of Season 3 in August 2020, Yellowstone saw 113% more views over Season 2 and was up 90% in fan growth, Deadline reported. The Season 3 finale alone drew 5.2M total viewers in Live+Same Day, which was one million more viewers than any other episode in the series history. That made it the No. 1 most-watched cable telecast of the year. As a whole, Season 3 was the most watched across all cable year-to-date.

Given the massive cliffhanger Season 3 ended with, the Season 4 premiere is almost guaranteed to just as successful, if not more. Yellowstone returns with its two-hour Season 4 premiere at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Nov. 7 on Paramount Network.