Maybe in an alternative universe, this version of Yellowstone made it to our television screens.

If there is one show that Montanans love but also hate, it is Yellowstone. The Western drama series starring Kevin Costner has been a huge cultural phenomenon since the pandemic and has been a blessing and a curse to Montana.

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The TV show has made millions visit Montana to experience the Yellowstone lifestyle. Some folks come for a short vacation, while many others come to live the Montana life. The show's success is a bit of a double-edged sword.

Yellowstone via Facebook
Yellowstone via Facebook

Even though Yellowstone is a success now, it had different plans if this one studio kept the rights.

One TikTok user did a deep dive on how one studio completely fumbled the ball when it came to Yellowstone, and it's a wild ride.

When Yellowstone was first written by Taylor Sheridan, TV giant HBO had the rights. HBO had the rights and had some wild ideas for the show. Most of the HBO team weren't fans of the show and didn't want Kevin Costner to be headlining the series.

Who did they want as John Dutton? HBO wanted Hollywood legend Robert Redford. Taylor Sheridan pitched it to Redford, and he accepted, but HBO backed out. Why did HBO have a problem with Yellowstone? That's where things get more interesting.

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One HBO exec thought Yellowstone was too Middle America and wasn't in line with the shows they had created in their catalog. Well, you messed up HBO.

Luckily, the President of HBO, who loved the concept, gave the rights back to Sheridan to pitch it elsewhere, and the rest is history. Here's the whole video.

@popculturebrain In the history of harebrained studio decisions, this might take the cake. It seems HBO couldn't get their heads around what later became a massive hit AND spawned a number of successful spinoffs, creating a cottage Taylor Sheridan industry all too itself. Yellowstone on HBO starring Robert Redford could have been cool, but different — alas it wasn't meant to be. On the topic of famous shows HBO let go,it also missed out on The Walking Dead, which ended up becoming a big hit for AMC. And speaking of bad studio decisions, not giving the actors and writers a fair deal is chief among them right now. #yellowstone #taylorsheridan #hbo #tv #tvhistory #kevincostner #robertredford ♬ original sound - Alex — Pop Culture Brain

Credit: Pop Culture Brain via TikTok

This isn't the first time a TV network decided a show didn't fit their lineup. A crime Western series called Longmire, set in Wyoming debuted on the TV network A&E. It was a massive hit with an older demographic, but A&E canceled the show because it didn't fit their lineup. Thankfully, Netflix revived the show and produced a couple more seasons.

This proves that sometimes networks whiff on possible shows everyone could fall in love with. Yellowstone has brought in millions of dollars in tourist revenue, and people are foaming at the mouth for Season 5.

Phillip Faraone, Getty Images

As perfect as Kevin Costner is as John Dutton, could you imagine Robert Redford? It would have been wild to see that version of Yellowstone.

22 'Yellowstone' Facts You Probably Didn't Know

How big of a fan of Yellowstone are you? These 22 facts about the Paramount Network show are sure to stump even the most dedicated viewers. They're almost all about the cast members and their real-life passions and roles. John's kids? Beth's accent? Rainwater's guitar playing? Tate's spoilers? It's all part of this list of 22 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Yellowstone.

Yellowstone: Who Said 'No' To Taylor Sheridan?

Why in the world would anyone turn down a chance to star on Yellowstone? It happened, more than once. In fact the show's biggest star nearly quit after one season while an entire network passed because the hit TV show didn't groove with their ideology.

See who passed on Yellowstone and how it ended up working out.

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