Things got a little creepy on A&E last night, and not just because of the content of Monday’s dual premieres. First off, the Season 3 debut of Bates Motel saw the contemporary Psycho starring Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore take a 30% fall among adults 18-49 from its Season 2 opener on March 3 last year. That 0.9 rating for the 9 PM show wasn’t the only 30% drop from the S2 debut. The opening of this 10-episode cycle of Bates Motel had a total viewership of 2.14 million from 3.07 million last spring. In both demo and total audience the S3 premiere is the lowest debut for Bates Motel so far. Compared with the 10 PM May 5 S2 finale, the S3 BM opener was even in terms of the demo and down 6% in total viewers.
With Bates Motel so far down in its return, the 10 PM debut of The Returned last night had a hard time getting traction, but it bested last year’s contender. With a big promotional push, the series exec produced by Carlton Cuse and Raelle Tucker and based on the French series and feature film Les Revenants pulled in 1.54 million total viewers and a 0.6 rating among the key demo. That’s down 28% in viewers and 33% in the demo from its Bates Motel lead-in. However, compared with the debut of the now-cancelled Those Who Kill in the same slot last year, The Returned was up 19% among the 18-49s and 6% in total viewers – and of course, Those Who Kill didn’t have to face AMC’s Better Call Saul, as The Returned did. The 10 PM sixth episode of the hit Breaking Bad kinda prequel was watched by 2.57 million and had a demo rating of 1.3. That made it the fourth-most viewed show on cable and tied for second place among adults 18-49.