“That would probably be the end of me telling TV stories”: Taylor Sheridan Cannot Stand 1 WGA Rule He Believes ‘Stifles Creativity’ That’s Bad News for His Yellowstone Future 

He is unapologetic in his pursuit of excellence and refuses to compromise on the quality of his work!

Yellowstone

SUMMARY

  • The creator of Yellowstone, Taylor Sheridan, built his empire at Paramount using a singular strategy that defies convention.
  • Sheridan’s approach yielded an astounding 60 scripts for Yellowstone, according to a 2023 THR report.
  • However, he would never encourage WGA efforts to cap the number of writers on each scripted show.
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As the mastermind behind the Dutton family saga, Yellowstone, Taylor Sheridan embarks on a solitary journey, carving out his empire of episodes at Paramount Network with a hands-on approach that goes against the grain. With an Oscar nomination to his name, his ethic is clear: his stories, be they Yellowstone, 1883, or 1923, thrive on character-driven narratives and have deeply ingrained personal authenticity—a rarity in the industry.

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Last year, THR claimed that Sheridan’s approach had produced an astounding “60 scripts for Yellowstone”. Chris McCarthy, president and CEO of Paramount Media Networks, said this accomplishment is the result of a passion that cannot be taught but must be marveled at. But without the teamwork that characterizes TV’s creative process, is Sheridan’s unique vision viable?

The creator of Yellowstone, Taylor Sheridan, built his empire at Paramount using a singular strategy that defies convention.
Taylor Sheridan in Yellowstone | Paramount Network

Apparently, Sheridan would rather defy the WGA’s efforts to persuade studios to hire a minimum number of writers for each scripted program.

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The WGA Rule: Could It Spell the End for Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone Vision?

Are writers’ rooms stifling creativity in the TV industry? According to Taylor Sheridan, 54, the co-creator of the hit Paramount-acclaimed series Yellowstone, the answer is a resounding yes. The Writers Guild of America rule that mandates the use of writers’ rooms has been in place for years, designed to ensure fair compensation & credit for the army of talented writers who contribute to the creation of a TV show.

However, for Sheridan, this rule is a barrier to his artistic expression, suffocating his creativity and hindering his ability to fully realize the stories he wants to tell. In a 2023 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Sheridan expressed his frustration with the Writers Guild of America rule that requires show creators to work with a team of writers in a writers’ room.

Taylor Sheridan would never encourage WGA efforts to cap the number of writers on each scripted show.
Kevin Costner and Kelly Reilly in Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone | Paramount Network

He is of the belief that this rule constrained his freedom as an artist and prevented him from fully realizing his creative vision:

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The freedom of the artist to create must be unfettered. If they tell me, ‘You’re going to have to write a check for $540,000 to four people to sit in a room that you never have to meet,’ then that’s between the studio and the guild. But if I have to check in creatively with others for a story I’ve wholly built in my brain, that would probably be the end of me telling TV stories.

Sheridan’s commitment to his peculiar vision for his Paramount show is evident in his approach to storytelling. He wrote “many episodes” of the Yellowstone franchise himself, as the showrunner added:

If you don’t grow up in this [ranching] world, and if you’re not a history fanatic, how do you write ‘1883’? How does a room do that? It doesn’t. I’ve written many episodes in eight to 10 hours.

This hands-on approach allowed him to maintain control over the direction of his shows and ensure that his stories were told the way he envisioned them. However, his refusal to conform to the industry standard of working in a writers’ room could spell trouble for the future of Yellowstone.

The Phenomenon of Taylor Sheridan’s Scriptwriting for Yellowstone

As the mastermind behind the critically acclaimed series, Yellowstone, Taylor Sheridan has proven himself to be a skilled storyteller, with a unique vision that sets him apart from other showrunners. While lavishly praising him, his producing partner, David Glasser, made the following statement (via THR): 

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Taylor writes scripts like you or I have a cup of coffee. He’s written 60 scripts for ‘Yellowstone’ — most people don’t do that their entire career. 

As the mastermind behind Yellowstone, Taylor Sheridan has proven himself to be a skilled storyteller, with a unique vision that sets him apart from other showrunners.
Kevin Costner in Yellowstone | Paramount Network

Meanwhile, Chris McCarthy, the CEO of Paramount Media Networks, added to the chorus of praise for Sheridan, saying:

You can’t teach or hope that someone cares more than Taylor. So, anytime that he wants to step in, it’s only to make it better and to push our partners to achieve greatness.

Well, with his firm stance against the WGA rule, it remains to be seen how this will impact the future of Yellowstone.

Will Sheridan be able to continue to chart his own course, defying industry conventions and delivering groundbreaking shows, or will he be forced to compromise his artistic vision in order to comply with the rules of the Writers Guild of America?

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Either way, Yellowstone’s second half of the fifth & final season is scheduled to premiere on November 10, 2024.

Stream Yellowstone on Peacock.

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Written by Siddhika Prajapati

Articles Published: 1740

Between everyday normalities and supernatural abnormalities, Siddhika Prajapati finds the story in everything. Literature Honors Graduate and Post-Graduated in Journalism (from Delhi University), her undying need to deduce the extraordinary out of simplicity makes her a vibrant storyteller.

Serving as a Senior Entertainment Writer at Fandom Wire and having written over 1700 pieces, Siddhika has also worked with multiple clients and projects over the years, including Indian Express, India Today, and Outlook Group.

Who knows, maybe your next favorite persona on the screen will be crafted by her.