If you’re curious whether the relationship between Kevin Costner and the producers and cast of Yellowstone has improved lately, Paramount declined to give Costner a courtesy heads up before the announcement Friday that the biggest show on TV is ending in November. So… not great. Per multiple sources involved in this high-stakes, months-long standoff, Costner, who’s busy shooting the sequel to his still-undated Horizon film, hasn’t agreed to return at all for the final episodes, which were being written by co-creator Taylor Sheridan prior to Monday’s WGA strike and were planned for a summer and fall shoot.
Over the past couple months, various Costner scenarios have been floated, per sources close to the production. Paramount’s Chris McCarthy and Yellowstone producer David Glasser suggested anywhere from 30 days to 45 days of shooting; Costner’s team has countered with a range from one week to three weeks, with the latest interactions suggesting the lower end of that timeline. Paramount has been waiting a while for Costner’s lawyer, Howard Kaplan, to provide a final answer on what Costner is willing to do, so McCarthy just decided to announce the end date for the episodes, the first few of which have been written with flexibility to allow for various levels of Costner involvement (or non-involvement). Remember, this show was supposed to air its 5B season in June. Given how long Costner has jerked around the show’s creatives and executives, I’d probably do the same.