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Sylvester Stallone is going back to Oklahoma.
The latest series from producer Taylor Sheridan scored big ratings after it was given a special Paramount Network preview after an episode of Yellowstone.
According to Nielsen numbers provided by Paramount, the numbers bested HBO’s House of the Dragon as cable’s highest-rated series debut this year, scoring 3.7 million viewers, including delayed viewing (and, obviously, a lead-in of 8 million viewers from Yellowstone helped).
“Tulsa King scored as the number one new series of the year, topping all others including the Game of Thrones sequel House of the Dragon,” said Paramount Media Networks and MTV Entertainment Studios president and CEO Chris McCarthy. “With its preview on Paramount Network, and on Paramount+, it shattered records, driving us to our biggest new signup day in history — which is why we instantly greenlit season two.”
Added Paramount Streaming’s chief programming officer Tanya Giles, “With the combination of the incomparable Sylvester Stallone and Taylor Sheridan’s darkly comedic twist on the beloved mobster genre, we have found our latest hit in Tulsa King. The series’ premiere on Paramount+ helped drive a record signup day, fueled by our unique ability as Paramount Global to tap into Paramount Network’s incredible Yellowstone audience.”
Yellowstone opened to around 12.1 million cross-platform viewers earlier this month and has since climbed to around 17 million viewers.
Tulsa King is from showrunner Terence Winter and stars Stallone as a mafioso who’s released from prison and exiled to Oklahoma to rebuild his crime empire. The show has received mixed-to-positive reviews, with critics and viewers generally praising Stallone’s affable performance, which the actor says is the closest role he’s ever played to himself.
“I’ve always wanted to play a gangster,” Stallone told The Hollywood Reporter. “But I wanted to play a unique gangster who is not like a gangster — at least, not when you meet him. He’s actually a guy who likes to cooperate. I thought about Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis. Like, what if you woke up and you were now in a different profession but you had the same personality? That way, you don’t assume the automatic cliché of a thug who stares at you dead-eyed and (slides into his Rocky/Rambo speaking voice for a moment — just to show) doing the deep voice. But if he has to get heavy, it’s gonna get real heavy. So I said, ‘I’m gonna play him as close to myself as I’ve ever done in my life.'”
Tulsa King streams on Paramount+ on Sunday nights.
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