With its initial 10 pm airing, the Bates family origin story drew 3 million total viewers, with 1.6 mil landing in the 18-49 sweet spot. That demo delivery marks an A&E high for an original drama series debut.
Breakout Kings was the previous record holder, with 1.5 million in the demo, while Longmire last summer delivered a larger premiere audience (4.1 mil) but skewed older, with less than a million aged 18-49.
For the night, Bates Motel checked in 4.6 million total viewers, with 2.4 mil in the 18-49 demo.
“Bates Motel represents the very best of quality storytelling with an incredible cast led by Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore,” A&E boss Bob DeBitetto said in a statement. “We are extremely pleased with the initial viewer response to this edgy and provocative series and are confident that it will continue to draw in new audiences.”
As for Monday’s other big cable debut, the miniseries Top of the Lake, Sundance Channel is not Nielsen-rated so no premiere numbers are available.