Why Isn’t ‘Yellowstone’ Returning for Season 4 This Summer?

Kevin Costner, 'Yellowstone,' When Will ‘Yellowstone’ Return for Season 4? Fans Have a Theory About Its Delay, Featured Image
Paramount Network

It’s been almost a year since the Yellowstone Season 3 finale aired on August 23, 2020, so it makes sense that fans were expecting the fourth season to arrive this summer. Unfortunately, we’re all going to have to wait a little longer.

On July 1, Paramount Network announced that the Kevin Costner-starring series would be back for Season 4 sometime this fall, with Deadline reporting that it won’t be until November. So what’s the hold-up?

Yellowstone airs on Paramount, owned by ViacomCBS, but the show’s first three seasons are available to stream on NBC Universal’s streaming service, Peacock. Could a streaming rights battle between Peacock and Paramount’s streaming service, Paramount+, be to blame for the show’s delay?

There’s no obvious production reason the episodes would be pushed back — the season wrapped filming in November 2020, according to Chief Joseph Ranch’s Instagram, the filming location used for the Dutton Ranch.

As explained by CNet, networks can make more money by licensing their shows’ streaming rights to other platforms instead of their own. For example, most seasons of iCarly are currently streaming on Netflix, instead of the reboot’s home, Paramount +. Comedy Central’s South Park is on HBO Max, despite the network being owned by ViacomCBS.

“However, beyond the money ViacomCBS makes by licensing, Paramount Plus also believes it may be able to draw in more new members if it lets other, bigger services have those top-tier titles to stream,” the CNet report reads.

If Paramount Network is streaming the show on Peacock to make a bigger profit, why will the show’s two announced spin-offs, Y:1883 and 6666, premiere on Paramount +? Could it be CBSViacom is waiting for the licensing deal with NBCUniversal to end so the fourth season can stream on its own streamer?

Time will tell, but as fans continue to wait for an official premiere date, you can catch the Yellowstone 4th of July Marathon this weekend on Paramount Network.

Yellowstone, Season 4, Fall 2021, Paramount Network