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Tuning In to TV: New family to be haunted on ‘American Horror Story’

- - Sunday, December 25, 2011

After generating series-high ratings for Wednesday's freshman-season finale of "American Horror Story," series co-creator Ryan Murphy and FX President John Landgraf announced Thursday that there would be a new family and a new house in the horror-thriller's second season, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

During a conference call with reporters, Mr. Murphy and Mr. Landgraf revealed that the second season would feature some new and returning faces but that the story of Ben (Dylan McDermott), Vivien (Connie Britton) and Violet Harmon (Taissa Farmiga) — who all perished and joined the legion of the undead in the house — has concluded.

"Every season of the show will be a different haunting," Mr. Murphy said. "What you saw in finale was the end of the Harmon house, and the second season of the show will be a brand new home or building to haunt. Just like this year, every season of the show will have a beginning, middle and an end."

Mr. Murphy noted that he currently is in negotiations with "a handful" of actors from the series, declining to name names, to return for the sophomore season of the FX drama - but playing newcharacters.

"There will be some new and familiar faces, playing new characters and new monsters," Mr. Murphy said, touting the standalone season format that typically will feature horrors like infidelity. "It's a fun idea to do an anthology show. That was the design of the show from the beginning; it's a really cool and interesting way to tell a horror show. Every season being what an American horror is."

While the first year revolved around the horrors that exist in a marriage involving infidelity, the second season will feature a different theme. As to what the theme will be, Mr. Murphy teased that there was a "clue in the last few episodes."

'X Factor' winner looks forward to what $5M can buy

A soul-singing college student from Florida plans to buy chicken for the rest of her life with some of the $5 million she won on "The X-Factor," People magazine reported Friday.

Melanie Amaro, 19, conquered the first U.S. season of Simon Cowell's reality talent show after covering R&B diva Beyonce's "Listen" — the same song she sang at her audition — on its pre-Christmas finale that aired Thursday, Agence France-Presse reports.

"Life will change a lot," she told People, saying she looked forward to buying her mother a new house — "The one we live in now sucks" — and a lifetime supply of chicken.

"I can't live without it. It's my favorite food," she said.

Miss Amaro also wins a recording contract and an appearance in a soft-drink commercial to air during the Super Bowl in February.

Viewers from all over the United States cast 40 million votes before Miss Amaro emerged the winner. Her rival finalists were Josh Krajcik, 30, a burrito maker; and Chris Rene, 28, a former garbage collector and drug addict.

Mr. Cowell had eliminated Miss Amaro from "X-Factor" earlier in the season, before — in a dramatic twist, with camera in tow — he literally went to her doorstep and invited her back on.

"I said to her, 'I've made a mistake. I admit it. I'm going to give you a second chance,' " he told Entertainment Weekly. "Now I'm seeing her behind me, she's got the confidence. And I'm proud of the fact the show found her."

Mr. Cowell, 52, brought over "The X Factor" from his native Britain, where it debuted in 2008.

Netflix may face uphill battle in U.K.

Amid its push into international markets, Netflix may find itself boxed out of the most coveted content in the U.K., Bloomberg News reported.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Netflix is facing the challenge of getting digital rights from powerful TV players, such as Channel 4, the BBC, BSkyB and ITV, which own most of their content and have their own streaming services, it said. U.K. consumers also already can use a competing streaming service from Amazon.com's Lovefilm unit.

Netflix plans to launch in the U.K. and Ireland in early 2012. Importantly, a content deal with broadcaster ITV probably won't include the most recent episodes of such hit shows as "Downtown Abbey," a source familiar with the matter said. A BBC deal this week gave Netflix access to such popular series as "Top Gear," but only six months after they air.

"Broadcasters are controlling a lot of the premium, online, video-on-demand business in the U.K.," said Rio Caraeff, CEO of video-streaming company Vevo. "They're able to protect their television business by packaging it with their online business."

Comedian Louis C.K. to share $1M from special

Louis C.K. said he has made more than $1 million from his online comedy special, but instead of keeping the money all to himself, he'll give some away.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, in his appearance on Wednesday's "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon," Louis C.K. provided a breakdown of how he intends to spend the cash: He's setting aside $250,000 to pay for the profitable special, the same amount toward holiday bonuses for his staff and then directing $280,000 to five charities of his choosing. They are, in no particular order: charity: water, which provides safe drinking water; Green Chimneys, which helps underprivileged kids; Kiva, which loans money to impoverished people around the world; Fistula Foundation for women who have childbirth injuries; and the Pablove Foundation for pediatric cancer research. Louis C.K. will keep the remaining $220,000.

"That's a lot of money. I've never had $1 million all at once," said the comedian, who added that he "felt uncomfortable" about it.

The special, "Louis C.K.: Live at the Beacon Theater," became available Dec. 10 for $5, resulting in sales of more than 50,000 in the first 12 hours. The $5 bought fans two downloads and two streams of the stand-up special filmed during the New York Comedy Festival last month.

"[It was] a $5 impulse 220,000 people had," he said.

• Compiled from Web and wire service reports.