If you have recently discovered that Yellowstone prequel 1923 is taking a break from airing this January, you might be curious as to why.

WARNING: Spoilers from 1923 episode 4 to be discussed

Taylor Sheridan has been keeping viewers entertained throughout this winter with new episodes of Yellowstone and its prequel, 1923, airing simultaneously. The debut season of 1923 premiered on Sunday, December 18 and will air through February.

We pick up in 1923 at a difficult intersection for the Dutton family. Spencer Dutton has swapped out life on the ranch for the African Bush and those remaining in Montana are facing life during the Prohibition era and a country on the brink of the Great Depression.

But as tensions continue to rise each episode, you might be wondering why the team behind 1923 are now taking a break. Let’s take a look at the reason behind the mid-season pause.

Screenshot from Yellowstone YouTube, Must-See Moments: 1923 Season 1 (Episodes 1-3)

Why is 1923 taking a break?

After 1923 season 1 episode 4 aired (Sunday, January 8), the Yellowstone prequel will be taking a mid-season winter break, as is common in television production.

There are several reasons for TV shows to take mid-season breaks. A Reddit thread, featuring contributions from individuals who work in TV production, touched on some of the major reasons why networks take breaks from airing new episodes.

Oftentimes, this can be the result of production purposes. For shows that have around 20 episodes in each season, it can be exhausting for the crew (and the viewer too) to have all of these episodes made back-to-back. Leaning on a mid-season break gives the production team more time to work on the show. It also creates a sense of anticipation for the viewer, who potentially would be exhausted by 20 weeks of TV back-to-back.

For cable shows, they take long breaks in the fall so they don’t have competition from other major networks.

When it comes to a smaller season such as 1923 – there are only eight episodes in season 1 – you might be wondering why this is applicable. TV shows still like to take this mid-season winter break, Ready Steady Cut reports, in order to make the spring sweeps. Sweeps occur when the TV networks count how many people watch the show, determining whether it will have future success on the network. Taking a break creates anticipation for new episodes, meaning viewing figures will be higher when the sweeps are tallied.

1923 takes a mid-season break after Yellowstone season 5

1923 is not the only Taylor Sheridan production taking a mid-season break. Yellowstone, which is currently airing its fifth series, is taking a pause as well.

The mid-season finale for Yellowstone season 5 aired on Sunday, January 1. Unfortunately, Paramount has not yet confirmed when Yellowstone will return for the second part of this season.

Season 5 has been divided up into two parts. Running longer than its prequel, 1923, there are six more episodes to come for Yellowstone.

When will new episodes of 1923 return?

Unlike Yellowstone season 5, there is a confirmed return date for the next episode of 1923. You can expect 1923 to return on Sunday, February 5.

The fifth episode will pick up where we left off. Teonna (Aminah Nieves) is making her great escape from the abusive clutches of Sister Mary (Jennifer Ehle). Spencer Dutton (Brandon Sklenar) and Alexandra (Julia Schlaepfer) have their idyllic life interrupted as Alexandra reads a letter which signals Spencer must return to the Yellowstone ranch. Cara (Helen Mirren) is stepping up to Jacob’s role (Harrison Ford) as the livestock tensions continue brewing.

A look at the episode schedule for 1923

In December, it was announced by Paramount that there would be a winter break during the airing of 1923 season 1.

They also confirmed the episode release schedule, showing that new episodes would air through until the end of February 2023.

Here is the confirmed release schedule for new episodes:

  • Dec 18 – episode 1
  • Dec 25 – episode 2
  • Jan 1 – episode 3
  • Jan 8 – episode 4

Winter Break

  • Feb 5 – episode 5
  • Feb 12 – episode 6
  • Feb 19 – episode 7
  • Feb 26 – episode 8
Screenshot from Yellowstone YouTube, Must-See Moments: 1923 Season 1 (Episodes 1-3)

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