Beyond Scared Straight’s screaming inmates draw a record number of viewers

A&E and Arnold Shapiro’s new reality series Beyond Scared Straight, which follows kids kids got in trouble as they go prison to get the shit scared out of them by actual inmates, became the network’s most-watched new series ever. It’s based on the Oscar-winning 1973 documentary.

An average of 3.7 million people tuned in on Thursday, including 2.2 million ages 18 to 49, “making it the most-watched original series launch in the network’s history among all key demos,” A&E said in a press release. By comparison, Hoarders season finale was watched by 3 million viewers on Monday.

The debut repeats Saturday at 8 p.m. ET if you missed it. Here’s a preview:

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.