Taylor Sheridan Has An ‘Unusual’ Level Of Power That Is Apparently Pissing Off Paramount Execs

(Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for Paramount+)

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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A detailed article published Friday seemingly attempted to call out “Yellowstone” co-creator Taylor Sheridan and the endless work he puts in to ensuring his shows remain the best that television has to offer.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article focused on the costs of creating and maintaining “Yellowstone,” the hit cowboy drama that has revolutionized pop culture and sociological trends across the country. The opening paragraphs describe how the show’s production controller, Mary Jasionowski, seemingly couldn’t understand why Sheridan was having the horses used on the show be wrangled back in Texas, and why production was paying for it.

Sheridan lives in Texas, and the horses used on the show can’t stay in Montana when production is shut down. Surely the easiest and most likely place to ensure the horses are taken care of, trained, etc., would be back in Texas, where Sheridan owns an extensive ranch? And the show should pay for it, because Sheridan probably can’t do anything else with those horses while they’re being used on set. Duh.

But apparently “no one on the set” could figure out why this was happening, suggesting everyone on the set of “Yellowstone” is void of common sense. Other examples of Sheridan’s spending include use of his personal ranches as filming locations; the in-depth “cowboy camp” he puts on to ensure everyone on set is safe, authentic (and probably covered legally), and a multitude of other businesses that he’s set up to ensure production runs smoothly, like a well-oiled machine.

“It’s a level of power unusual in the industry, where even the most successful showrunners typically don’t have such control or personal ventures tied to their productions,” the article reads.

Sure, but most showrunners don’t live the lives they put on screen. Sheridan does, so why go to anyone else for the stuff required to make “Yellowstone”? Paramount Network and 101 Studios would have to pay someone for the stuff they pay Sheridan for, so it’s insanely smart of him to fill in the gaps and keep his operations under one metaphorical barn roof.

Unnamed executives and crew members allegedly described Sheridan’s shows as “drenched in excess.” The article even tried to compare the expenditures to lesser shows, like “The Last Of Us” and “House of the Dragon,” both of which are predominantly computer-generated (and therefore cheaper), whereas everything in Sheridan’s shows is real.

Head of 101 Studios David Glasser, who funds “Yellowstone,” reportedly decried Sheridan’s spending in a series of emails reviewed by WSJ. He even allegedly called Sheridan to figure out how to cut down on costs, and apparently it’s all been addressed.

But here’s the thing: What the heck do a bunch of city-dwelling executives and journos know about running a ranch, horses and living out in real America? Literally nothing. Of course they’re not going to understand how much this stuff costs.

If Sheridan was a sloppy, bougie suit-wearing, city-dwelling tool, the arguments put forth over the cost of “Yellowstone’s” production may be justified. But that is not Sheridan, so the piece ends up as a totally out-of-touch dismissal of a man who has clearly created an epic career for himself and made sure that many, many others are reaping the rewards.

In fact, this all reads like a hit against the American Dream. (RELATED: REPORT: The Next ‘Yellowstone’ Prequel Announced By Paramount Executive)

It touches at the heart of what’s wrong with a divided America. In the cities, people in small rooms assume things are peaceful, easy and affordable out in wild country. But it’s not. It’s just as expensive, and way more back-breaking, dangerous and exhausting. And Sheridan deserves every penny for his work in bridging that divide, and giving us some of the only true escapism on offer in 2023.