When HBO elected to pass on the continued development of “Yellowstone” over Beth Dutton, the problem for Taylor Sheridan wasn’t just finding a new network to pick up the series. As The Hollywood Reporter noted, HBO was the rights holder for the “Yellowstone” script, as it was a project the network had developed internally, meaning that it could easily stop Sheridan from shopping the series to other interested parties. For that small bit of time, “Yellowstone” was as good as dead.
In a massive stroke of luck, Sheridan had someone pulling for him on the inside: former HBO programming president Michael Lombardo. “When the regime changed, Lombardo called me,” Sheridan explained. “To his credit, he said, ‘I always believed in the show, but I could not get any support.’ His last act before they fired him was to give me the script back.”
Lombardo’s final act granted Sheridan the autonomy he needed to take “Yellowstone” elsewhere, and the rest is history. The show found a home on Paramount Network, and Sheridan executed his uncompromising vision for Beth as a character — one who has now become a major part of the series’ unique identity and a standout favorite among a sizable swath of viewers.