Universal Channel Takes 'Bates Motel' for U.K.

Bates Motel Norma Norman - H 2013

Bates Motel Norma Norman - H 2013

A&E has renewed the critically acclaimed series, a prequel to "Psycho," for a second season.

Universal Channel has secured the U.K. premiere of Bates Motel, the critically acclaimed new drama series which airs on A&E in the U.S., signing a deal with NBCUniversal International Television Distribution.

The show, inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's horror classic Psycho (1960), follows Norman Bates' teenage years and his problematic relationship with his mother. British actor Freddie Highmore stars as Norman with Up in the Air actress Vera Farmiga as his mother Norma.

Bates Motel ranks as A&E's most-watched scripted drama. The March 18 season one premiere drew 3 million viewers, a number that rose to 4.5 million when Live +7 figures were factored in. Last week, A&E renewed the series for a second, 10-episode season.

Bates Motel generated plenty of buyer buzz at last week's international television market MIPTV but the series' dark subject matter make it a tougher fit for many free-to-air networks. European pay outlets such as Universal Channel seem a more logical home for the show.

Bates Motel is among the most-distinctive and talked-about new dramas to emerge from the U.S. this year, and we are extremely proud to be the channel opening its infamous doors to U.K. viewers," said James Newton, Channel Director, Universal Channel.