February 24, 2014 8:00am PT by Michael O'Connell
A&E Adds 'Bates Motel' Aftershow to Season 2 Premiere (Exclusive)
A&E is dipping its toe in the increasingly popular aftershow arena. Its sophomore drama, Bates Motel, will get its own talker after its March 3 return.
The Hollywood Reporter has learned that the special, being billed as a one-off for the time being, will include leads Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore and Max Thieriot and executive producers Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin. The half-hour Bates Motel: After Hours will tape in front of a live audience of fans and air at 11 p.m.
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A&E is no doubt using the later airtime in an effort to get Bates fans to sample new drama Those Who Kill. The Chloe Sevigny thriller premieres at 10 p.m. that Monday on the heels of Bates' return.
Bates Motel, which premiered to a scripted series demo high for A&E last year with 3 million viewers and 1.6 million adults 18-49 and 25-54, is a natural candidate for the aftershow treatment. A modern-day prequel to Psycho, Bates Motel follows the genre trend of aftershows -- most successfully executed by AMC's The Walking Dead companion show, Talking Dead.
Talking Dead has been a boon to AMC, outperforming nearly all of the network's other originals. It recently opened to a record 5.9 million viewers and 3.9 million adults 18-49. Talking Dead was also initially billed as a one-off. Other shows to receive aftershow talkers include Breaking Bad and MTV's Teen Wolf.
Aftershows have proven to be a relatively inexpensive way for cable networks to engage viewers of fan-friendly shows. The pairings also help plug original telecasts as events, boosting live-plus-same-day ratings.
Embassy Row is producing Bates Motel: After Hours for A&E, with Michael Davies serving as executive producer.