The premiere episode aired on Sunday to 6.56M viewers, making it the top entertainment program of the week, according to fast nationals from Nielsen. It’s also the largest audience for a scripted series on the broadcast networks since the season finale of NCIS in late May.
While Taylor Sheridan’s drama series already had quite the following, this audience is significantly higher than when the first episode debuted on Paramount Network in 2018. At the time, the episode scored about 2.8M viewers, marking a 132% increase in viewers on CBS.
These are early numbers, and this post will be updated when the final data is in. However, CBS is estimating that the audience will increase to around 6.82M viewers when out-of-home viewing is included.
The episode also scored an early 0.9 rating among adults 25-54, which CBS predicts will jump to a 1.0 after OOH viewing.
Yellowstone is the headline of CBS’ fall lineup which has been impacted by both the writers strike and actors strike, replacing The Equalizer at 9 p.m. CBS reports that the Yellowstone debut was up 11% versus the premiere night for The Equalizer and East New York last year (excluding OOH viewing).
The series was led in by 60 Minutes, which also had a successful night airing an interview with Colorado head coach Deion Sanders. The episode averaged 11.37M viewers, which is up 19% versus the 60 Minutes premiere last year.
CBS estimates that the 60 Minutes audience will grow to over 12M viewers when OOH viewing is accounted for. If so, it’ll be the largest audience for the show since November 2021.
This makes sense, considering Sanders’ overhauled Colorado team has hit the ground running in their first three regular season games. The first two games of the season broke records for Fox, and the contentious matchup with Colorado State on Saturday — which saw Colorado come out victorious at the end of double overtime — is likely to score big numbers as well.