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Two years before Yellowstone became an unlikely linear smash hit, the series narrowly escaped an early demise. When longtime MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo chief Chris McCarthy added Paramount Network (and several other ViacomCBS cable networks) to his purview in late 2019, the exec was tasked with turning around the network and making it profitable. Yellowstone—the lavish drama co-created by Taylor Sheridan and starring Kevin Costner as John Dutton, the patriarch of a family that controls the country’s largest contiguous ranch—was a prime candidate for cancellation.