20 Juli 2024

Taylor Sheridan’s Special Ops: Lioness Breaks His Own Yellowstone Paramount+ Record

3 min read


  • Special Ops: Lioness, created by Taylor Sheridan, has become the most-watched global premiere on Paramount+ in its first 24 hours, surpassing the previous record set by Yellowstone.
  • The first episode of Special Ops: Lioness received nearly six million viewers across Paramount+ and linear television. It was ranked as the #1 new scripted series of the year on cable and one of the highest performers on Paramount+.
  • Taylor Sheridan, known for his successful series such as Mayor of Kingstown, and Tulsa King, is already working on more content for Paramount+, including Lawmen: Bass Reeves and a potential Yellowstone sequel series. The network invests heavily in Sheridan’s shows, reportedly over $500 million a year.

Early viewership numbers for Special Ops: Lioness are pointing at another hit for Taylor Sheridan. According to Deadline, the espionage thriller, which premiered on July 23, became the most watched global premiere during its first 24 hours for Paramount+. That accolade was previously held by Sheridan’s own Yellowstone, and before that the sci-fi series Halo. Special Ops: Lioness’ first episode scored a combined audience of nearly six million viewers across the streaming platform and through linear television: the Paramount Network aired the first episode on July 23, followed by the second on July 30. The remaining episodes will only be available on Paramount+.

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Chris McCarthy, President/CEO, Paramount Media Networks & Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios, said:

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“On one of the most competitive weeks of the year, Special Ops: Lioness scored as the #1 new scripted series of the year on cable and one of the highest performers of all time on Paramount+. Brilliantly created by Taylor Sheridan and brought to life by our stellar cast, this heart-pounding thriller inspired by real-life events clearly struck a chord with a huge audience.”

Special Ops: Lioness stars Zoe Saldaña as Joe, a CIA operative in charge of the Lioness program. She is paired with Cruz (Laysla De Oliveira), a Force Recon Marine and rookie Lioness operative for an undercover job to prevent a terrorist attack. The two women must befriend the daughter of a suspected terrorist who is being surveilled by the Central Intelligence Agency. The series also stars Dave Annable, Jill Wagner, LaMonica Garrett, James Jordan, Austin Hébert, Jonah Wharton, Stephanie Nur, Hannah Love Lanier, Nicole Kidman and Michael Kelly. Sheridan, David C. Glasser, Saldaña, Kidman, Ron Burkle, Bob Yari, David Hutkin, Wagner, Geyer Kosinski, Michael Malone and John Hillcoat serve as executive producers. New episodes stream on Sundays until September 3.

Glasser, the CEO of 101 Studios, one of the production companies behind the series, discussed the show’s talented cast:

“We are thrilled audiences have discovered the power of Zoe Saldaña, Nicole Kidman & Laysla De Oliveira. These three incredible actors delivered and make Lioness an action packed, dramatic, joy-ride week after week.”

Another Hit for Taylor Sheridan and Paramount+?

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Paramount Global

Despite earning mixed critical reviews, Special Ops: Lioness‘ high opening numbers are indicating that Taylor Sheridan has created another hit. The famed creator has been an invaluable contributor to the Paramount Network, bringing popular series Yellowstone, its prequels 1883 and 1923, and crime series Mayor of Kingstown and Tulsa King to life.

Although Yellowstone will conclude with its fifth season (currently in hiatus) and filming for 1923 has been indefinitely postponed amid the ongoing strikes, Sheridan is already working on creating more content for Paramount+. Lawmen: Bass Reeves, based on the life of the first black Deputy U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi River, Bass Reeves (portrayed by David Oyelowo), will be the fourth installment in the Yellowstone franchise. Although a premiere date has not been set, filming reportedly wrapped in June. Another spinoff, titled 6666 after the famed Four Sixes Ranch in Texas, is tentatively scheduled for a premiere later this year. Most recently, news has circulated of a potential Yellowstone sequel series led by Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey. According to a report published earlier this year, the network dishes out over $500 million a year for Sheridan’s shows.