How Yellowstone Prequel 1923 Drew a Massive Premiere Audience

By Jessica Lerner 

Taylor Sheridan’s latest Yellowstone prequel had a record-breaking premiere.

The debut of the Harrison Ford– and Helen Mirren-fronted TV series 1923 attracted more viewers than ever on Paramount+, breaking the previous record by nearly 80%.

Total viewers for the premiere on Paramount+ and linear telecasts, which included a premiere on Paramount Network, two encores and a run on CMT, were 7.4 million.


The show follows a generation of the Dutton family in 1923, a period marked by numerous challenges such as the Western Expansion, Prohibition and the Great Depression, which had its beginnings in Montana a decade earlier.

So why did 1923 have such a massive premiere, beating out the likes of Halo, Mayor of Kingstown and Tulsa King?

Well, in addition to the multiple telecasts, 1923 is part of Paramount+’s best-known franchise.

The show is the third series in the Yellowstone universe. It is a prequel to Yellowstone, which focuses on the Dutton family in present-day Montana, and follows 1883, which looks at the post-Civil War generation of the Dutton family.

Two other Yellowstone projects are also in development: 6666 and 1883: The Bass Reeves Story.

“Taylor Sheridan continues to tap a cultural nerve that has proven irresistible to viewers from across the country and around the world, with this newest installment showing no signs of slowing down–proving yet again the power of our franchise strategy to fuel the future of Paramount+,” Chris McCarthy, president/CEO Paramount Media Networks & MTV Entertainment Studios, said in a statement.

Additionally, 1923 counts some pretty big names among its cast, drumming up excitement among viewers long before the premiere.

Ford, best known for his starring roles in the Indiana Jones and Star Wars films, and Helen Mirren, who played Det. Jane Tennison on the TV series Prime Suspect and won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Elizabeth II in The Queen, are powerhouses in their own right.

“Anchored by Taylor Sheridan’s incredible vision and the performances of legends Helen Mirren and Harrison Ford, we felt confident this next chapter of the Dutton Family origin story would resonate with audiences,” Tanya Giles, chief programming officer, Paramount Streaming, said in a statement.

The cast also includes Darren Mann, Michelle Randolph, James Badge Dale, Marley Shelton, Brian Geraghty, Aminah Nieves and Jerome Flynn.