'Bates Motel' Scores Scary Good Ratings, Paves Way for Prequel Wave

The next time you channel surf onto a branded TV property, and not original fare, you have only yourself to blame.

Last night’s premiere episode of Bates Motel, the prequel saga of a young Norman Bates of Psycho fame, scored very hearty ratings for A&E. The new thriller, which stars Vera Fermiga as the mysterious Norma Bates and Freddie Highmore as her disturbed son, drew 4.6 million total viewers for the night. Those figures gave the network its most watched original drama debut in key demographic groups (18-49 and 25-54).

The prequel movement suffered some defeats a few years back, including the lackluster Halloween reboot by director Rob Zombie and the slapdash Hannibal Rising. Lately, with films like X-Men: First Class and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the prequel concept has both commercial and artistic appeal.

Viewers can expect more familiar properties coming to a small screen near them, no doubt.

Bates Motel airs at 10 p.m. Monday nights at A&E.