Taylor Sheridan’s latest “Yellowstone” spin-off series “1923” debuted over the weekend to massive numbers – the biggest debut ever for Paramount+ and the #1 new cable premiere of the year on linear.

The Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren-led series landed 7.4 million viewers across linear telecasts and streaming. It also sports the kind of high-quality production values and star wattage that requires serious spending to deliver.

Speaking with Deadline recently, Sheridan revealed that each episode of “1923” can cost anywhere from $30-35 million – making it easily one of the most expensive series ever made.

It’s partly due to the production shooting in South Africa and trying to be completed with practical effects where possible. Sheridan says:

“I would argue that ‘1883’ was the most expensive first season of a TV show ever made. [1923] was much more expensive. Much more expensive. I don’t know what the ‘Game of Thrones’ budgets were, but I don’t know how they could have been more than this.

You saw six thousand sheep, three thousand cattle, and as this show keeps going, you’re in Africa. All real. You know how hard it is to move a crew around in Africa in 2022 with COVID, and all the rules and all the politics?

He also indicates Paramount is so confident in “Yellowstone” as a franchise that when he asked for an extra eight-episode season to finish the story, and the request was granted with no hiccups. Sheridan says:

“[Paramount is] so malleable to the storyteller, or at least to me as the storyteller. They will add episodes because I need it to tell the story. You think about when you talk about a show that’s costing $30 million to $35 million an episode and you just asked for eight more episodes […] and realize I just asked for 240 million dollars.”

“1923” follows Jacob (Ford) and Cara (Mirren) Dutton, the ancestors of the Dutton family as they run the Yellowstone ranch facing the challenges of the era, including prohibition, a pandemic, a historic drought, and the looming threat of the Great Depression.

Jerome Flynn, Sebastian Roché, Darren Mann, Michelle Randolph, James Badge Dale, Marley Shelton, Brian Geraghty, Aminah Nieves, Jennifer Ehle, Julia Schlaepfer, Brandon Sklenar, and Robert Patrick co-star.

“1923” premiered this week on Paramount+.

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