The popular TV show "Yellowstone" has announced it's end. Recently it was announced that production on the TV show "1923" has been delayed indefinitely, due to the writers strike. These changes will have an impact on Montana's economy as a whole, and directly on individual local businesses that have been impacted by the shows.

Yellowstone Production Impacts Local Montana Businesses

Recently I spoke with Keegan Nicholson owner of Royal Limousine Service in Western Montana about the impact his business has directly seen with the delay of the last season of "Yellowstone". Royal Limousine Service was one of the car services that drove cast, crew and executives while in Montana. He hasn't seen as much business in the past year with the changes. The impact that "Yellowstone" has had on the state is bigger than one might think. Keegan spoke about how far reaching it was. He said:

I not only drove, cast crew and executives, but I also drove location scouts. There were conversations where the scouts would look at the area and talk about using it for different projects that had nothing to do with "Yellowstone". There were also top level executives that would be looking at the area for other projects. Normally they would be in the area between April and May and I am not seeing them at all this year.

Not Everyone in Montana Appreciates the TV Shows

There are some people in Montana that are happy to see the TV shows stop production or leave the state all together. Keegan understands that attitude, he explained:

It is a fine line between people who don't own their own business and the ones that are directly impacted by the productions. It's easy to say "good riddance", but for people who's livelihood rely on it, it helps our community and area a lot... Montana is a tourist state, you may not like it, but the money that it brings it helps a lot of people out.

It May be Years Before We Know the Impact of the Shows on Montana

Keegan has had quite a few clients that have come to Montana, that have had nothing to do with the TV industry, that have remarked about the show. It may be years before we fully understand the impact that these shows have had on our state.

Will the Show Delays Have a Major Impact Statewide in Montana?

KGVO's Peter Christian spoke with Dr. Patrick Barkey of the University of Montana's Bureau of Business and Economic Research about impact of the shows. It isn't just economical. One of the aspect of the show is far reaching. Dr. Barkey said:

The other aspect of the show is going to be probably a little bit more enduring, and that is the exposure it has given to an international audience of a fictionalized version of the Montana way of life. It's not exactly Montana, those of us that live here know it's not. And yet is has imagery that has been pretty compelling and has led a lot of people to visit the state and some even to move here.

The Montana Economy is Bigger Than a TV Show

As for the state wide economy of Montana, the TV shows are a more visible aspect of the economy and it will affect individual businesses, but that isn't the big picture. According to Dr. Barkey,

If you want to talk about the economy as a series of ups and downs, this is one of the more visible ones, because the show is there, it's a big deal. If the show changes or ends, or whatever it's going to do, that's another change. So, highly visible, but the economy is bigger than all of that. If you are saying that the winding down of the show is going to impact individual business, you are absolutely right. If you are going to say that's going to be a big factor in the Montana economy, going forward, I think there's a lot of reasons why that's not exactly right.

Any Word on the New Show "1944" being Filmed in Montana?

Speaking of shows filmed in Montana, "1944" one of the "Yellowstone" prequals starring Matthew McConaughey will be filming in the Bitterroot Valley. I asked Keegan Nicholson if he had any details on the show, he replied "no comment".


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