At the helm of cable's steady powerhouse, A&E Network and Bio Channel president Bob DeBitetto talks about breaking off from Netflix and seeking buzz off Carlton Cuse's "Bates Motel."
Bob DeBitetto would be lying if he told you he wasn't bothered by the outsize media attention little-watched critics' darlings such as Mad Men and Breaking Bad receive, particularly because his shows -- critically ignored efforts from Duck Dynasty to Storage Wars -- deliver at least two times the viewership. But that all could change when his Psycho prequel Bates Motel, a scripted drama from Lost's Carlton Cuse starring Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga, launches in 2013. Other provocative scripted efforts will follow as the New York-based executive, 56, continues to push the reality-heavy A&E -- under the leadership of newly promoted Nancy Dubuc -- in new directions. When he took over the network in 2003, after a stint at Turner, it was the No. 22 cable net among the 18-to-49 set; today, it is No. 6. The married DeBitetto, whose DVR houses everything from Damages to Gossip Girl to Jersey Shore, sat down with THR during a trip to Los Angeles in August to discuss the waning value of repeats, the perils of the unscripted business and his big bet on Bates Motel.
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