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Why You Can't Binge Yellowstone On Paramount Plus

On November 13, Taylor Sheridan's "Yellowstone" is slated to make its drama-filled return, with Season 5 premiering on the Paramount Network. In preparation for this, many subscribers have been looking to catch up on the modern-day western using the network's sister streaming service, Paramount+. There's just one problem: "Yellowstone” surprisingly isn't on there, and a number of fans have noticed.

"Why is Yellowstone, a paramount production, not on @paramountplus," asked Twitter user @JettaNicole on November 1. "Like, I just want to do a binge before the new season."

Season 4 of "Yellowstone" set up a lot of things for Sheridan's fifth TV outing, such as John Dutton's (Kevin Costner) recommendation from Lynelle Perry (Wendy Moniz) to become governor of Montana and storylines involving Rip (Cole Hauser) and Beth (Kelly Reilly), Kayce (Luke Grimes), and Jamie (Wes Bentley). But it looks like Paramount Network and Paramount+ users won't be able to get refreshed or caught up before the Season 5 premiere, since Seasons 1 through 4 are on a different app entirely.

Yellowstone is only available to watch on Peacock due to an old streaming deal

Back in 2020, when "Yellowstone" wasn't as popular as it is today, Paramount reportedly agreed to a licensing deal that sent the show's streaming rights to NBCUniversal (via Deadline). Little did the network know just how big the record-breaking series would become.

"With respect to 'Yellowstone' ... that deal was done pre the ViacomCBS merger," explained president and CEO Bob Bakish during a February 2022 investor presentation (via Seeking Alpha). "That's unfortunate," Bakish continued. "Rather than just forgo that opportunity, we chose to aggressively get into spin-off series like 1883." While not available in the United States, Bakish noted how "Yellowstone" is available on Paramount+ internationally and is considered the biggest asset of Paramount Global. "So that's how we think of that franchise today," he said.

Unfortunately for U.S. viewers, if you want to watch Seasons 1-4 on Peacock, you'll have to sign up for one of the app's paid subscriptions, which are currently priced at $5 and $10. New Season 5 episodes will be available on the Paramount Network and its app after their original air date, along with Season 4. But the others won't be. 

"Very strange to me that Yellowstone is on Peacock but all the other shows in the Yellowstone Cinematic Universe are on Paramount Plus," tweeted @JayDSarkar in early October. TV critic Kelly Lawler, in March 2022, concluded, "If only Paramount Network hit #Yellowstone streamed on Paramount+ we'd be one step closer to the streaming wars making sense."