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As Taylor Sheridan’s “Yellowstone” universe expands, so does its audience. After “Yellowstone’s” Season 4 premiere in November soared to 14.7 million viewers — an impressive feat in today’s bleak linear TV landscape — “1883,” the neo-western prequel, had the biggest new series premiere on cable since 2015.

The MTV Entertainment Studios and 101 Studios production’s “sampler special” drew 4.9 million viewers on Paramount Network following a new episode of its Emmy-nominated predecessor. The first two episodes of the prequel will be broadcast on cable after “Yellowstone” on Sunday nights, but all other episodes will be exclusively on the re-branded ViacomCBS streamer.

In addition, “1883” broke ground as Paramount Plus’ most-watched original series premiere ever following its debut this past Sunday. The stark retelling of Western expansion in America’s promised land was also the No. 1 most social streaming drama series per data from Talkwalker Social Content Ratings. All in all, a happy day for the folks at Paramount, especially after its third Sheridan-verse output, “Mayor of Kingstown” starring Jeremy Renner, was hit with sour reviews from critics. The first episode of the show delivered 2.6 million viewers and a 0.41 rating in the key, ages 18-49 demo.

“The success of Taylor Sheridan’s ‘1883’ is another proof point of our unique model to leverage our linear platforms and franchise our biggest hits to supercharge Paramount Plus,” said Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Media Networks. “Given the tremendous viewership on Paramount Network, I’m confident our strategy of sampling on the Paramount Network will drive awareness and viewers to Paramount Plus.”

“1883,” which follows the Dutton family as they journey west through the Great Plains to flee poverty and seek a better future in Montana, stars Sam Elliott, Billy Bob Thornton, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. In addition, the series features Isabel May, LaMonica Garrett, Audie Rick, Marc Rissmann, Eric Nielsen and James Landry Hébert. The prequel series is executive produced by Sheridan, John Linson, Art Linson, David Glasser, Ron Burkle and Bob Yari.