Yellowstone is known for creating plenty of drama with its tense storylines, but now that drama is spilling over to the networks distributing the show.
The Kevin Costner–starring show has become a modest hit in reruns for CBS, which began showing the series to traditional television viewers earlier this month.
But NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock has had the streaming rights to the series since it’s first season, and many viewers saw the show there, years before CBS began airing reruns.
Now Peacock has begun airing ads on CBS during its Yellowstone broadcasts to urge fans to log in to the service to watch the show there instead, where they can also see the original show, rather than version edited to appease broadcast television censors.
The direct competition for viewers by rival networks is an unusual development, according to Variety, though it may ultimately still benefit CBS’ parent company Paramount Global.
The latest rerun of Yellowstone reportedly featured two commercials from Peacock that aired during the hour-long show.
‘Peacock has all episodes of Yellowstone,’ the ad announced in large block letters while showing a montage from the Western melodrama.
‘Stream every season now,’ it continued, which seemed to urge new fans to switch to a service where they could satisfy their curiosity with some binge watching, rather than waiting week to week for the reruns to air.
‘This is a declaration of war,’ one of the characters says at the end of the clip to end on a humorous note.
Part of the battle between CBS and Peacock is due to the convoluted distribution history of Yellowstone.
The show’s cable home for its first run has been on the Paramount Network, a cable channel owned by CBS’ parent company.
Paramount has its own streaming service, Paramount+, which houses many of its original programs.
The show originally debuted to modest ratings and lackluster reviews in 2018, and even though the series — which was created by showrunner, director and writer Taylor Sheridan — did well enough to be renewed for a second season, Paramount opted to sell the streaming rights to Peacock in 2020, rather than saving the show for its own streaming service.
It turned out to be a short-sighted decision, as Yellowstone has only increased in popularity with subsequent seasons, allowing Peacock to syphon of some of Paramount’s potential revenue in the form of new subscribers, though Paramount still benefits from the licensing fees that Peacock pays to stream the series.