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Paramount Plus Says ‘1883’ Became Service’s Most-Watched Original Series

Paramount Plus's '1883'
'1883' is the prequel to 'Yellowstone" (Image credit: Paramount Plus)

ViacomCBS said that 1883, the Yellowstone prequel from Taylor Sheridan, has become Paramount Plus’ most-watched original series ever.

Paramount Plus did not disclose specific viewing metrics, but said its audience was double the previous record on owned and operated platforms. Other viewing is expected once data from third-party reporting checks in.

ViacomCBS let viewers sample 1883 on its Paramount Network cable channel and it drew 4.9 million total viewers leading out of Yellowstone, becoming the biggest new series premiere on cable since 2015.

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“The results of 1883’s debut are truly phenomenal,” said Tanya Giles, chief programming officer, ViacomCBS Streaming. “The day one streaming numbers coupled with the results of the linear sampling effort, and social response from our audience show the tremendous promise for this series. We look forward to continuing on this epic journey with our subscribers.”

Ultimately the most important metric will be whether or not 1883 is able to bring new subscribers to Paramount Plus.

Other numbers are encouraging. ViacomCBS said that 1883 is tracing ahead of the season one premiere of Yellowstone by 125% among people 18-49 and 135% among 25 to 54.

“The success of Taylor Sheridan’s 1883 is another proof point of our unique model to leverage our linear platforms and franchise our biggest hits to supercharge Paramount Plus. We went big with 1883 -- the Yellowstone prequel -- and it delivered big and shattered all records,” Chris McCarthy, president and CEO ViacomCBS Media Networks, said in a release. “Given the tremendous viewership on Paramount Network, I’m confident our strategy of sampling on the Paramount Network will drive awareness and viewers to Paramount Plus.”

Paramount Plus also launched another Taylor Sheridan series, Mayor of Kingstown, on November 14. That show, too, outperformed Yellowstone's series premiere, the network said in declaring Kingstown the streaming service's top original scripted drama to date.

Created by Academy Award Nominee Taylor Sheridan and produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and 101 Studios, 1883 is the prequel to the Emmy nominated series Yellowstone. The original series stars Academy Award nominee Sam Elliott, Grammy Winner Tim McGraw, Grammy Winner Faith Hill, Academy Award winner Billy Bob Thornton, Isabel May and LaMonica Garrett, Audie Rick, Marc Rissmann, Eric Nelsen and James Landry Hébert. 

1883 is executive produced by Sheridan, John Linson, Art Linson, David Glasser, Ron Burkle and Bob Yari. ■

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.