Holy ($25-a-Head) Cow! Taylor Sheridan's Reported $500 Million Production Largesse Amid Staggering Paramount Losses Roils Striking Media Biz (Frankel)

Taylor Sheridan
(Image credit: hoto by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Let them eat tenderloin!

Back in Hollywood, the Writers Guild of America just went back on strike, its rank and file complaining that it can't feed its families on the gig economy being created by eight-episode-season binge-era streaming. 

Next TV managing editor Daniel Frankel

(Image credit: Future)

And Paramount Global just saw its stock tumble more than 28% in a single day after it reported a $1.1 billion first-quarter loss on Thursday.

Happily for the man who is currently Paramount's most coveted production partner, Taylor Sheridan, these problems are just headlines, as a Friday Wall Street Journal story (opens in new tab) outlining the emerging 52-year-old mogul's production largesse strongly indicates. (More on that in just a second.)

Indeed, Sheridan just keeps on winning. 

On Friday, it was also announced that Sheridan has become actually the second person within the last week to successfully divorce Kevin Costner (opens in new tab)

The acrimonious relationship between the movie actor who became the TV star of Sheridan's seminal hit, Yellowstone, will end with Costner exiting the franchise later this year at the end of the season 5, part II. And yet another Yellowstone spinoff will take its place, this one reportedly starring Matthew Mcconaughey (opens in new tab)

That will sustain the number of Yellowstone Cinematic Universe series in the Paramount realm at three, factoring in prequels 1883 and 1923, with the highly prolific Sheridan also nurturing Sylvester Stallone starrer Tulsa King and Jeremy Renner's Mayor of Kingstown, and a number of other shows in development. 

So Sheridan doesn't have to put up with Costner's reportedly tedious scheduling demands, and Paramount Plus can put the leading, modernized edge of the Yellowstone narrative on Paramount Plus with the rest of Sheridan's other shows. This comes after the conglomerate notoriously squandered the flagship Yellowstone by licensing its exclusive domestic streaming rights to NBCUniversal and Peacock before the show became a steer-sized hit. 

Back at (one of) the estate(s) of Shari Redstone, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Paramount non-exec chair reflexively poring over the bills on Friday afternoon ... not to mention the conglomerate's top-level executive management roster. 

But as the WSJ headlines its story, Redstone and Par probably still "can't say no" to Sheridan, who reportedly commands a cumulative annual production budget of $500 million.

"Among other expenses incurred by Sheridan and his 101 Studios, WSJ said, "are herds of cattle at $25 a head, over $200,000 for a week-long 'cowboy camp,' and paying [1923 star] Harrison Ford’s flight insurance for his hobby of flying prop planes.

And even before he blew up, the paper described Sheridan as never rolling cheap. 

WSJ also said the first season of Yellowstone was budgeted at a lofty $7 million per episode, but ballooned $20 million over that line factoring in script and production delays. The latest season allocated $12 million per installment and went over budget, too. 

And no one seems to be telling Sheridan that cataclysmic stock drops are a reason he can't have nice things. 

In a keynote (opens in new tab)  at February's Cattle Industry Convention, Sheridan said that his Yellowstone actors are outfitted with the same pricey, high-quality jeans, saddles and other gear favored by real-life ranchers, so that the production will come off "real and authentic" to a "bunch of cowboys."  

Of course, the Alliance of Motion Picture & TV Producers might want to consider how guys like Sheridan "come off" to union writers, who seem to be girding themselves for a lengthy typing stoppage this summer. 

As Next TV reported Thursday, Moody's Investor Service sees the AMPTP as being far apart from the WGA. In fact, Moody's predicted the strike could last over three months. Certainly, the AMPTP's constituents face real problems, with linear businesses eroding quickly and streaming operations still producing red ink for most media companies. 

But the narrative of excess and and wealth polarization seems to loom large among rank-and-file writers.

"The system’s broken, and it’s time for it to be rectified," Allison Glock, exec producer on The Blacklist, told Broadcasting + Cable's Mike Malone from the the WGA picket line in NYC Friday. "Unfortunately, this is the only way that folks seem to listen."

(Image credit: Twitter)
Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!