TV Ratings: How Did ‘Yellowstone’ Do With Its Broadcast Debut on CBS?

Kevin Costner in 'Yellowstone'
Emerson Miller for Paramount

Yellowstone has become a hit for Paramount Network, breaking ratings records with its latest seasons — it’s ending with Season 5 Part 2, which doesn’t have a premiere date yet — and it’s now made its broadcast debut. CBS has started airing the western drama, starting with Season 1, on Sunday nights, with the premiere on September 17. But how many people tuned in?

Keeping in mind that the NFL game delayed CBS’ primetime lineup, with Yellowstone not starting until nearly 9/8c instead of 8:30/7:30c, an average of 6.56 million watched the two-hour presentation, with a 0.9 rating among adults 25-54. It was the #1 entertainment program of the week in viewers, and that is the largest audience for a scripted series on the broadcast networks since the season finale of NCIS in late May.

That means the broadcast debut came in fourth on the night, after the football games (on CBS and NBC) and 60 Minutes immediately following the one on CBS (with 11.37 million viewers and a 2.3 rating, which will be adjusted).

The rest of the night were reruns of Fox‘s animated shows and a new episode of Big Brother after Yellowstone. The CBS reality competition was watched by 2.66 million (with a 0.7 rating among adults 25-54).

Yellowstone‘s reruns are part of CBS’ fall schedule, adjusted for the ongoing writers and actors’ strikes, which means that the usual scripted programming is not returning just yet. The network will also be airing NCIS: SydneySEAL Team Season 5 (starting from where it left off, before it moved to Paramount+) and the U.K. version of Ghosts, along with unscripted shows like Big BrotherSurvivorThe Amazing RaceBuddy Games, and more. CBS has also scheduled reruns of its hit dramas like NCIS (including a mini-marathon for the 20th anniversary on September 25), Blue Bloods, and Fire Country.