What it Actually Costs to Film an Episode of Yellowstone

Yellowstone Season 2

Those that live on and operate ranches in real life already know what it takes to keep them running since the costs can be extraordinarily high due to a list of different factors. But when it comes to creating an episode of Yellowstone one might feel their jaw drop just a little when they realize it can take anywhere from $3 to $4 million to air one episode of the star-driven series. What’s really funny about this is the fact that the majority of the show has been filmed in Utah, while it’s professing to be all about a ranch in Montana. Apparently, the show is changing venues though as it’s bound for Missoula, Montana, which is fitting considering that it might actually look a little more genuine. That’s not to say that Park City, Utah, didn’t convince a lot of fans of the genuine nature of the show since the beautiful scenery that was shown throughout the last three seasons has been breathtaking, but those that know better were likely able to point out one scene or another where they could recognize different geographic features. That’s the thing about TV shows such as this, there are plenty of people that have been around long enough and seen enough of the USA that it’s possible that they can tell the difference between one state and another. It’s true that some states do have a lot of the same features and tend to appear in the same place. But those that have been around said states long enough would likely have something to say about the attempt to convince the viewers that one place is entirely like the other.

But back to the cost of the episode, since that’s amazing in and of itself, even if it’s not the benchmark for how much an episode has managed to cost when it comes to show business. Oh yes, there are other shows that have cost more, but it does sound as though the cost per episode might actually go up for Yellowstone if only because of the pandemic that’s still very real and continuing to cause various problems around the world. The added protocols and PPE is actually costing more money but it doesn’t sound as though salaries are going up, which is a good thing since Kevin Costner’s pricey salary is already six figures and takes up a good amount of the budget. Considering he’s the most famous face on the show it’s not hard for people to figure out that he’s going to want to be paid in a manner that’s commensurate with his fame, but it does make a person wonder just what his costars are making since it’s likely only a fraction of what he’s getting in the case of some of them. That’s how the business works though, the most famous names and faces get the biggest slice of the pie so to speak. If not for that however it does feel that the budget might be able to lower a bit, but then it’s easy to think that it would stay the same since that extra money might go somewhere else.

There’s a general breakdown of what goes into an episode of every show, how much everything costs, what the salaries are for the actors, what the crew salaries are, and so on and so forth, but in the interest of not getting into all of it at the moment, let’s just say that the accounting department has a lot to look after since there are a lot of moving parts in each episode. Let’s just be clear and say that the millions that go into each episode are accounted for since they go towards what they’re needed for and the people that need the money tend to get it so that things can run smoothly. The fact that each episode costs as much as some luxury mansions on the market, or mini-mansions depending on which celebrity’s home we’re talking about, is kind of insane, but for the caliber of show we’re talking about it’s still about average to kind of cheap in comparison to others, which is amazing. Thinking that millions per episode is cheap is hard to do, but in show business, things tend to cost more when they have top-level talent and take up the kind of scope that Yellowstone has become known for throughout the last three seasons. The amount of storytelling that’s gone on has been incredible and the escalation of matters as they continue to grow out of control has been even more so. What season 4 will bring is hard to say, but fans of the show will no doubt be waiting with great anticipation to see the Dutton’s return and will be watching as the story continues to unfold. The way things have been happening, it’s easy to think that season 4 will be worth the wait.

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