The creator of the popular Paramount show “Yellowstone” says another television service passed on it for being too “Middle America.” In a lengthy interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday, Taylor Sheridan, the creator of the hit TV series about ranchers in Montana, said he first proposed the show to HBO. Sheridan said the network’s programming president at the time, Michael Lombardo, liked the idea, but the rest of his team didn’t get it. “I thought Taylor was the real deal,” Lombardo told the outlet. “In a world of people who pose, he was writing what he knew, and he cared desperately about the show. The idea of doing a modern-classic Western was a great idea — we were always doing urban shows, and this felt fresh.” They agreed the show needed a big star in the lead role of John Dutton. Sheridan suggested Kevin Costner, but he said HBO executives “didn’t see it.” As the network’s interest in the show unraveled, Sheridan said, he and “Yellowstone” co-creator John Linson met with an unnamed HBO vice president for a “crisis meeting.” “We go to lunch in some snazzy place in West LA,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “And John Linson finally asks: ‘Why don’t you want to make it?’ “And the vp goes: ‘Look, it just feels so Middle America. We’re HBO, we’re avant-garde, we’re trendsetters. This feels like a step backward.” This derision that coastal elites have for Middle America is nothing new. It is well-known that wealthy liberals living in luxury in places like Manhattan and Beverly Hills have detested hard-working, blue-collar Americans in the nation’s Heartland, mainly because they tend to be more conservative and reject the leftist agenda. However, the vice president followed that remark by saying something that is even more infuriating, even by the standards of the liberal elites. “And frankly, I’ve got to be honest, I don’t think anyone should be living out there [in rural Montana]. It should be a park or something,” the executive told the “Yellowstone” producers, according to Sheridan. Think about that: An executive at a major TV network said that people should not live in an entire area of the country, an area where important economic activities take place, without which we would have no life as a country. Presumably, the HBO vice president would like everyone to move to a city like New York or Los Angeles where they could leave their “backward” ideas behind and adopt the “enlightened” worldview of the left. In the words of The Hollywood Reporter, “The executive’s coastal elite diss convinced Sheridan that HBO didn’t appreciate his story.” Thankfully, Sheridan and Middle America had the last laugh: After he shopped it around, Paramount decided to pick up “Yellowstone” with Costner in the lead role and release the show on its streaming service, and it turned out to be a massive success. Not only that, but the show has spawned two spinoff series — “1888” and “1923” — and a third is currently in the works with Matthew McConaughy in the lead role. While HBO turned up its nose at “Yellowstone,” the network has embraced “woke” shows that are far less successful. Perhaps the most egregious example is the widely hated “Velma,” a “Scooby-Doo” spinoff that disregarded everything that fans loved about the classic series in order to push a leftist agenda. HBO isn’t alone, of course. Disney has been losing massive amounts of viewers amid its efforts to force racial and sexual identity politics onto children. These woke companies clearly never learn. Instead of listening to the audience and making content they will enjoy, HBO and Disney continue to churn out programming that promotes leftist ideology. Taylor Sheridan exposed the folly of the coastal elites with the success of “Yellowstone,” a show that appeals to the imagination of ordinary people in Middle America. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.