Kevin Costner's Yellowstone might be set on a ranch in Montana, but most of the show's first three seasons were filmed in Utah. That could change when production starts on Season 4. The Paramount Network show's producers reportedly told Utah Film Studios owners they will not be returning to film the next batch of episodes there due to the changes in Utah's tax incentive program.
Almost three-quarters of the show's production took place in Utah, but producers have decided to leave the state to film entirely in Montana, reports the Salt Lake City Tribune. However, the producers "don't want to leave," Marshal Moore, vice president of operations at Utah Film Studios, told the Tribune. "They feel like they're forced to because of Montana's shiny new $10 million incentive that they just passed last year." Moore added that the Utah film commission and the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) will not be able to offer new incentives "at the moment."
Producers spent $80 million to film the first three seasons in Utah and received over $7 million in tax rebates, with payments doled out over three years. They did apply for tax incentives for Season 4 and were scheduled to meet with Utah Film Commission Director Virginia Pearce on Friday. Pearce told the Tribune they are reviewing the application, but they could not make a "determination about the amount of incentives we can offer" for the next season. The film commission will take the Yellowstone application and others to the GEOD board on July 9. Unfortunately, the state has only set aside $8.29 million for film and television tax incentives for fiscal 2021, and Yellowstone isn't the only one vying for a piece.
Yellowstone Season 3 debuts on Paramount on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. The network renewed the show for a fourth season back in February, noting that Season 2 was the most-watched 2019 summer series on cable TV in total viewers. The show was created by Taylor Sheridan (Sicario) and John Linson (Sons of Anarchy). The series focuses on John Dutton (Kostner) and his family's efforts to keep their Montana ranch. The cast also includes Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley, Cole Hauser, Kelsey Absille and Gil Birmingham. Former Lost actor Josh Holloway joined the show as a new antagonist for Season 3.
The third season promises to be "very different" from the previous two, Grimes told PopCulture.com last year. "It's like it changes speed and takes turns, and sometimes it's intense and violent and crazy, and sometimes it's poetic, and the moments are more subtle," Grimes said. "It is always evolving and morphing into something else. I think you're going to get that same thing with Season 3."