Paramount Plus will reunite with some of the biggest shows and movies from its parent company, including South Park and Showtime programming. But owner Paramount Global wouldn’t specify when — or even if — Yellowstone, the hit cowboy drama on the Paramount Network, would stream Paramount Plus, where it is conspicuously absent in the US.
Paramount Global, which changed its name from ViacomCBS as of Wednesday, said new South Park episodes will have their streaming premieres on Paramount Plus starting in 2024 with the show’s 27th season, rather than on HBO Max where new episodes stream now. Then in 2025, Paramount Plus will get the full back-catalog of South Park in the US. Paramount Plus will also make two new South Park movies every year for the next 6 years.
Showtime shows and movies are also going to become available to stream directly in Paramount Plus app this summer for subscribers who are signed up for dual bundle, which starts at $12 per month. Showtime’s own streaming app will continue to exist separately, but bundle subscribers won’t need to jump between apps anymore to stream something like Showtime’s Yellowjackets right after watching a Paramount Plus original like 1883.
Then starting in 2024, Paramount Plus will be the first place to stream all of Paramount’s theatrical movies, including Mission: Impossible 8, though most releases are expected to get a period exclusively in theaters first. Many Paramount films will stream first on Paramount Plus before that date, including recent releases Scream and Jackass Forever — both of those will start streaming there in March. But starting with the 2024 slate, every Paramount big-screen movie will hit Paramount Plus before any other service or TV network.
Also Tuesday, the company announced Paramount Plus would launch in the UK, South Korea and the Caribbean by this summer and its international expansion will widen to Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria in the second half of the year.
But the company didn’t have any updates about the streaming future of Yellowstone itself, even though it’s probably the one show most closely associated with the Paramount name.
The hike to Yellowstone’s stream
Yellowstone has been a ratings juggernaut, rising in popularity every year. In January, its fourth-season finale was the biggest cable-TV hit since the era that The Walking Dead ruled viewership. But Yellowstone isn’t available to stream on Paramount Plus. Its absence is a confusing quirk stemming from a licensing deal ViacomCBS struck with NBCUniversal’s Peacock in 2020, more than a year before Paramount Plus launched.
As Yellowstone has soared in popularity the last two years, Paramount’s decision to license it out (to what is now a direct streaming competitor) has emerged as a strategic black eye.
For fans, it has created a frustrating maze to figure out where to stream Yellowstone and related programming. For example, while Yellowstone isn’t on Paramount Plus, the Yellowstone prequel series 1883 is on Paramount Plus (and only on Paramount Plus).
To compensate for not having Yellowstone itself, Paramount Plus has been firing up a ton of spin-offs, prequels and spiritually similar programming by its creator, Taylor Sheridan, that are exclusive to its service. In addition to 1883, the company announced Tuesday that another prequel series, 1932, will feature stories about members of Yellowstone’s Dutton family who are children during the events of 1883.
Tuesday, Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish said it was “unfortunate” timing, to strike a Yellowstone licensing deal with Peacock in the midst of closing a major merger. But he said the strategy to aggressively invest in spin-offs was “working very well,” without commenting on the streaming fate of Yellowstone itself in the US.
Paramount Plus — alongside other young streaming services like Disney Plus, HBO Max, Apple TV Plus, Peacock, Discovery Plus and others — hopes its particular mix of TV shows, movies and originals will lure your attention from cable and streaming stalwarts like Netflix, hooking you on its own vision for TV’s future. For you, these so-called streaming wars affect how many services you must navigate — and, often, must pay for — to watch your favorite shows and movies online.