'Yellowstone' Creator Sets Unscripted Series at Paramount Network

Taylor Sheridan will spotlight elite horsemen and -women in a competition called 'The Last Cowboy.'
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Taylor Sheridan

Paramount Network is deepening its relationship with Yellowstone co-creator Taylor Sheridan.

The Viacom-owned cable channel has greenlit The Last Cowboy, an unscripted series that focuses on elite horsemen and -women on the professional reining circuit. The sport involves riders taking horses through a series of precise circles, spins and stops, attempting to elevate and preserve the cowboy tradition. The show is set to premiere in July.

Along with the series, Sheridan is launching a live event called Run for a Million, the sports first arena-based competition with a $1 million purse. The event will take place Aug. 15-17 in Las Vegas and be featured in The Last Cowboy's finale. 

"The grit, beauty and tenacity of the West are linked to America's legacy, and my creative drive has been to explore those, in all their complexities, in film and scripted television," said Sheridan. Now, with The Last Cowboy and Run for a Million, we’re bringing the real men and women, and their dedication to the sport of reining, to the small screen, an unmasking of the cowboy world that we hope TV audiences will enjoy."

Said Keith Cox, president development at Paramount Network and TV Land, "Viewers came in massive numbers to watch Yellowstone last season to see the way we showcase modern-day western life. Now we're serving up fans an inside look at the lives of real horsemen and their challenges and triumphs within the world of competitive horse reining."

Sheridan, an Oscar nominee for writing Hell or High Water, co-created Yellowstone with John Linson. The Last Cowboy will be his second TV series and first foray into unscripted shows. A previous regime at Paramount Network had considered signing him to an overall deal.

The series comes from Truly Original, which produces Paramount's long-running Ink Master. Co-CEOs Glenda Hersh and Steven Weinstock executive produce with Sheridan, Yellowstone producer 101 Studios and David C. Glasser.

"What many people don’t know is that some of the greatest cowboys in the world aren’t living and working on ranches; they’re competing in one of the world’s most elite sports," said Hersh and Weinstock. "Riders, trainers and horses perform at spectacular levels, and the drama and stakes of reining are as intense as any professional sport — with major money also on the line."

The Last Cowboy will become part of an unscripted roster at Paramount that includes the Ink Master franchise, Lip Sync BattleBar Rescue and spinoff Marriage Rescue and a revival of Wife Swap that was initially intended for fellow Viacom channel CMT. 

The network's unscripted series are providing some stability for Paramount Network as its scripted slate remains in flux. The recently renewed Yellowstone debuted Wednesday night, but it's currently the only scripted original set to air on Paramount in 2019. Darren Star's Emily in Paris is slated for 2020, and Paramount recently picked up MASH-esque dramedy 68 Whiskey and detective drama Paradise Lost (formerly Heaven of Hell), which will have a first run on Charter Communications' Spectrum platform before debuting on Paramount. The network is also developing a drama called Coyote from exec producers Michael Chiklis (who will also star) and Michelle MacLaren.