HBO Told The ‘Yellowstone’ Creator That His Pitch Was Too ‘Middle America’ And A ‘Step Backward’

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Paramount Network

While off-camera drama has ultimately stunted the popularity of Yellowstone, there was a point a couple of years ago when the Taylor Sheridan-created series was the biggest show on television.

Airing on Paramount Network, Sheridan revealed in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter that he originally pitched the project to HBO as a movie that he described as “The Godfather in Montana”.

Despite being briefly in development at HBO under former programming president Michael Lombardo, the series obviously never made its way to HBO airwaves, which apparently had executives who believed that the series was too “Middle America” and a “step backward” for the network.

“Look, it just feels so Middle America. We’re HBO, we’re avant-garde, we’re trendsetters. This feels like a step backward. And frankly, I’ve got to be honest, I don’t think anyone should be living out there [in rural Montana]. It should be a park or something,'” Sheridan recalled being told, via The Hollywood Reporter.

Obviously, that was a massive swing and a miss for HBO — who also wanted a “Robert Redford type” in the lead role instead of Kevin Costner — as Yellowstone went on to become the biggest show on cable TV for a period of time.

At this time, the fifth and final season of Yellowstone is set to conclude later this year, as Costner is set to exit the series. Reports indicate, however, that a sequel series is in the works with Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey being eyed to play the lead role. There are also the two spinoff series that have premiered in recent years, 1883 and 1923, the latter of which featured Harrison Ford and Hellen Mirren.

In addition to his Yellowstone-related shows, Sheridan has also developed programs such as Tulsa King, Mayor of Kingstown, and the upcoming Special Ops: Lioness for Paramout+.

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Eric Italiano is a NYC-based writer who spearheads BroBible's Pop Culture and Entertainment content. He covers topics such as Movies, TV, and Video Games, while interviewing actors, directors, and writers.