Yellowstone Gets HD Greenlight

Two-and-a-half years after it launched in the US, ranching drama hit Yellowstone at last has been picked up for broadcast here.

It will premiere next month on SoHo, nearly three months after seasons one and two were released on DVD.

There’s more good news for those who want to view this Kevin Costner series in the best picture quality: Madman Entertainment will release the first two seasons on Blu-ray on Friday.

Madman planned to distribute the series on Blu-ray in September but censorship costs thwarted this.

Because Yellowstone has a restrictive rather than general Australian rating, Madman would have had to submit the six-disc box set to the censor’s office — and the fees for clearing it would have been a prohibitive $3,373.20.

It would have been impossible for Madman to recoup this on a relatively niche title like Yellowstone in NZ, given the size of our market and the show not having had broadcast exposure.

But the decision by Universal Pictures NZ, which handles Paramount Pictures product here, to launch Yellowstone on DVD in October means Madman can “cross-rate” the Blu-ray off the DVD, which has the same content (just not in 1080p).

Meanwhile, Sky will screen the first season 8.30 Wednesdays from January 13.

Given it ignored Yellowstone for so long, it’s surprising to see the series being awarded a top slot on a premium channel.

Of course, in the interim Yellowstone has continued to rate highly in the US and COVID-19’s compact on programme supply lines has all but turned both SoHo channels into a perpetual re-run loop.

Indeed, Sky expects to exceed its profit forecast for 2021 partly because of a “one-off cost savings” following “renegotiation of certain content rights, which continue to be impacted by COVID-19 restrictions”.

At the same time, it needs to stop its SoHo flagships from turning into variations of Sky Box Sets.

With three seasons up its sleeve, totalling 29 episodes, and a fourth due next year, Sky is able to not only tap into a fresh source of content but also one with scheduling longevity that it can exploit on other channels post-SoHo.

And the good news doesn’t end there for Western fans: also new next month on SoHo will be the abolitionist drama, Good Lord Bird, which will saddle up alongside Yellowstone 9.30 Wednesdays from January 20. Yahoo!

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