“Yellowstone” has been such a success, it’s yielding not just one more series from the same source but two, at almost the same time.
As the original Kevin Costner-starring drama continues its just-started fourth season on Paramount Network, shows it has prompted will debut on streaming cousin Paramount+. First up — premiering Sunday, Nov. 14 — is “Mayor of Kingstown,” created by “Yellowstone’s” Taylor Sheridan and co-star Hugh Dillon (“Flashpoint”), and casting Jeremy Renner (“The Avengers”) as Mike McLusky, the mayor of a prison-centric Michigan town where the law doesn’t always rule. A delicate balance results among politicians, police officers, guards, convicts and McLusky and his own relatives. (The other new show, the “Yellowstone” prequel “1883,” premieres Dec. 19.)
“We’re both just ecstatic with how this has transpired,” Dillon says of adapting his own upbringing in devising “Mayor of Kingstown” with Sheridan. “We were two broke actors in L.A., he was my acting coach, and we just had this concept and created this world and these characters. And, 10 years later, here we are. We’re just thrilled.” (Sheridan also is developing the Paramount Network spy drama “Lioness” with another performer from his past, Hallmark Channel staple Jill Wagner.)
Renner worked previously with Sheridan on a 2017 movie the latter wrote and directed, “Wind River” (which also featured Dillon). Also an executive producer of “Mayor of Kingstown,” Renner says, “I love the strength of this character. I love the strength, really, of all the characters. It all starts with the limited, bleak surroundings they are surrounded by. That’s what we all share, the good guys and the bad guys (in this), the ugly of it all. We are … I don’t want to say ‘victims,’ but ultimately products of our environment.”
Mitch (Kyle Chandler) and Mike (Jeremy Renner) work together in “Mayor of Kingstown,” premiering Sunday, Nov. 14, on Paramount+. – Courtesy of Paramount+
The “Mayor of Kingstown” cast also includes Emmy winner Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”), two-time Oscar winner Dianne Wiest, Taylor Handley, Emma Laird and Tobi Bamtefa. The pilot episode’s director, Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”), is another executive producer of the series that counts MTV’s production arm among its makers.
Regarding what drives his “Mayor of Kingstown” alter ego, Renner reasons, “Morality comes from somewhere. You can have your experiences and try to identify and define the morality that’s been set before you within (your) family, but then we all grow up and have our own life experiences, and how we choose to overcome them or (are) victimized by them. A lot of things define Mike McLusky, and it all starts with the family.
“That, I think, will separate this show and widen it to be not just a prison drama,” Renner concludes. “It really expands itself into a much more poetic and emotional context of the family and sacrifices.”