Taylor Sheridan is sticking to her singular vision for her Paramount empire.
The creator of “Yellowstone” and Oscar-nominated screenwriter told us The Hollywood Reporter who isn’t a fan of working one-on-one with writers’ rooms for TV shows.
“The artist’s freedom to create must be unlimited,” said Sheridan. “If they tell me, ‘You’re going to have to write four people a $540,000 check to sit in a room you’re never to meet,’ then it’s between the studio and the guild. But if I were to creatively confront others about a story I’ve built entirely in my brain, that would probably be the end of me storytelling on TV.
Sheridan noted that her plan at first was to “Greg Berlanti it,” citing the mega-producer behind The CW’s DC Universe and a slew of other content. However, his frustration with writers’ rooms and working with other showrunners has led him to take charge of every series he creates.
“(I thought) I was going to write and pitch and direct the pilots, and then we would bring in someone as showrunner to run a writers room and I could check in and lead them. That plan fell through,” Sheridan said. “There were some things that none of us anticipated.”
Sheridan later let go of “Tulsa King” writers and showrunner (and “Boardwalk Empire” actor) Terence Winter; likewise, Sheridan fired the writers of “Special Ops: Lioness”.
“My stories have a very simple plot that is character-driven as opposed to plot-driven characters — the antithesis of the way television is normally shaped,” said the “Wind River” writer. “I’m really into relationship dirt in literally every scene. But when you hire a room that may not be motivated by those same qualities—and a writer always wants to take ownership of something they’re writing—and I give that directive and they don’t feel it, then they’ll invent their own qualities. So for me, the writers’ rooms, it just didn’t work.
Sheridan writes all episodes of the ‘Yellowstone’ franchise, including the prequels ‘1883’ and ‘1923’.
“If you don’t grow up in this world (farmer) and if you’re not a history buff, how do you write ‘1883’?” said Sheridan. “How does a room do that? It is not so.
He added, “I’ve written a lot of episodes in 8-10 hours.”
Sheridan’s producing partner David Glasser noted that “Taylor writes scripts like you or I are having a cup of coffee. She wrote 60 screenplays for “Yellowstone” – most people don’t do that in their entire career. It’s because of his excitement about the material.
Chris McCarthy, president and chief executive officer of Paramount Media Networks, said: “You can’t teach or hope that anyone cares more than Taylor. So whenever he wants to step in, it’s just to make things better and push our partners to achieve greatness.”
Paramount is not providing any notes on Sheridan’s scripts, the showrunner confirmed.
“I get paid whether they’re good or bad, but it’s not really winning,” he said. “’I’m one of those people who can’t do anything that isn’t 100 percent related to my passion. I can’t do ‘OK’ in a job.