Bates Motel Damien AE
Courtesy of A&E

Mother will have more trouble on her hands come March 7, when “Bates Motel” returns for its fourth season.

A&E Network announced the premiere date of the critically acclaimed drama, from writers and executive producers Kerry Ehrin (“Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood”) and Carlton Cuse (“Lost, “The Strain”) starring Vera Farmiga (Norma Bates) and Freddie Highmore (Norman Bates), at the Television Critics Assn. press tour Wednesday.

This ten-episode season of “Bates Motel” promises to showcase Norman’s continued descent into madness, as Norma becomes increasingly fearful, going to great lengths to find her son the professional help he needs. This further complicates their once unbreakable trust, while Norman struggles to maintain his grip on reality. Sheriff Romero (Nestor Carbonell) once again finds himself drawn back into Norma and Norman’s lives.

“Bates Motel” has fallen off since its hot start in 2013, down about 20% during season three. Still, it finished as the calendar year’s No. 7-rated basic cable drama in adults 18-49 (1.5 rating) while averaging 3.3 million total viewers, according to Nielsen’s “live plus-7” averages.

The series premiere of “Damien,” from executive producer Glen Mazzara (“The Walking Dead”), will follow “Bates Motel.” A continuation of the horror film, “The Omen,” “Damien” follows the adult life of Damien Thorn (Bradley James), who has grown up seemingly unaware of the satanic forces around him. He must now come to terms with his true destiny — that he is the Antichrist. An acclaimed war photographer, he returns home to New York after experiencing a traumatic event while on assignment in Syria. Plagued by flashbacks, he is forced to confront his true identity.

The series also stars Barbara Hershey, Omid Abtahi, Megalyn E.K., Scott Wilson, David Meunier and Robin Weigert.

“Damien” is produced by Fox 21. Ross Fineman, who developed the project alongside Mazzara, executive produces, as does Pancho Mansfield. Shekhar Kapur directed and executive produced the first episode.

Also at TCA on Wednesday, A&E announced the Season 2 renewal of “Born This Way.” The docuseries, hailing from Bunim-Murray Productions, follows a group of adults born with Down syndrome. The series debuted on Dec. 8.

“We have been overwhelmed and moved by the feedback we’ve received for ‘Born This Way’ from viewers, as well as people with disabilities and their family members. It’s rare to be able to present a show that changes the way we see the world; we believe ‘Born This Way’ is one of those shows,” said Elaine Frontain Bryant, exec vice president and head of programming at A&E.

“Over the course of my career, when I’ve been asked what show I was proudest of, it was always ‘The Real World.’ Now there’s a contender to that title – it’s ‘Born This Way,’” said exec producer Jonathan Murray. “I am thrilled the series will return for a second season, and I want to acknowledge the invaluable support we have received from advocacy groups for the disabled, especially RespectAbility and Best Buddies International who have been tirelessly spreading the word.”

 

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