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Cowell promises ‘bloodbath’ on next ‘X Factor’ season

With Melanie Amaro just crowned this season’s winner, auditions are already under way for next season’s “The X Factor” — and contestants and viewers should prepare themselves for possible changes.

“Can we make the show better? Yes. I will never ever go into anything going forward unless I can believe I can make it better,” Simon Cowell, the show’s producer and judge, told People on Thursday after Miss Amaro had won the $5 million recording contract. “Next year will be a bloodbath. We have to come out with something better than the rest, and that’s what we aim to do.”

While Mr. Cowell was mum on specifics, he said he plans to sit down back in the U.K. with the “X Factor” brain trust, which will also get input from sponsors and the Fox network before any decisions are made regarding the show in 2012.

There also has been some chatter from critics and fans about the show toning down the production numbers, which often distract with the multiple dancers, choirs, lighting and head-spinning backdrops.

A lot is up in the air regarding the talent, too. Will Steve Jones be back as host? Will L.A. Reid and Nicole Scherzinger return as mentors and judges?

The only sure thing for the moment: Mentor and judge Paula Abdul told People she’ll be back, “unless something weird and bizarre happens.”

Mr. Reid also said he’s all set for another go around. “I would love to come back — what I don’t like is, I love it so much. I don’t control it, it’s up to the boss.”

Mr. Jones said he is also on board if asked to return.

So far, the lone judge ambivalent about returning is Miss Scherzinger, who said at a news conference Monday that she found the contestant elimination process emotionally trying and “something I could have never prepared for.”

NBA delivers ratings gift with Christmas Day games

The NBA returned Sunday to play its first games after ending the lockout, and delivered with ratings presents for TNT, ABC and ESPN, Entertainment Weekly reports.

TNT’s noon tipoff between the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks averaged 5.9 million viewers and became the highest-rated Christmas Day NBA cable telecast ever.

A quadruple-header across ABC and ESPN also scored some of the highest regular-season audiences ever, according to preliminary Nielsen ratings. ABC’s 2:30 p.m. tipoff between Miami and Dallas delivered a 5.6 overnight rating, making it the highest Christmas Day game at that hour on ABC since 2004. The 5:30 p.m. game between the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers nabbed a 6.5 overnight rating, making it ABC’s third-highest-rated NBA regular-season game ever.

ESPN scored its highest-rated Christmas Day game ever in prime time (2.3 overnight rating) with the L.A. Clippers vs. Golden State at 10:30 p.m.

Showtime’s new comedy available ahead of premiere

No lie here: Showtime is offering the premiere of its upcoming Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell comedy “House of Lies” early.

In a bid to increase sampling, the premium cable network is following a trend that worked well for its Golden Globe-nominated drama “Homeland” and is offering the dark comedy early to viewers via its official website, YouTube and on-demand, in addition to on smartphones and tablets.

The model worked well for “Homeland,” which was offered more than two weeks early online and went on to become Showtime’s highest-rated drama premiere in eight years, with 1.08 million viewers at 10 p.m., besting the series bows of “The Borgias” (1.06 million) and “Shameless” (982,000).

Offering premieres early online has become more frequent this television season, as the CW made rookie dramas “Hart of Dixie” and “The Secret Circle” available ahead of their debuts, as did Fox with its Zooey Deschanelcomedy, “New Girl.” All three series went on to earn full-season pickups.

“House of Lies,” a dark comedy about big business, premieres at 10 p.m. Jan. 8

Producer charged in murder drops extradition appeal

A reality show producer charged with murdering his wife during a Mexican vacation is dropping his extradition fight and will stand trial in Cancun, the Associated Press reports.

Bruce Beresford-Redman’s attorney said Tuesday the onetime “Survivor” producer has decided not to appeal a Los Angeles federal court ruling upholding his extradition to Mexico.

Lawyer Richard Hirsch said the producer thinks he would not win an appeal and wants to begin the process of proving his innocence at a trial.

Monica Beresford-Redman disappeared from a Cancun resort where the couple was vacationing with their two children last year. Her body was found stuffed in a sewer cistern.

Mr. Beresford-Redman will be tried by a single judge. If he is convicted of aggravated homicide in Mexico, he faces 12 to 30 years in a Mexican prison.

Demi Lovato knocks Disney for joke about eating disorder

Demi Lovato is not happy with Disney after the network poked fun at eating disorders on the hit series “Shake It Up.”

Miss Lovato, who previously starred on “Sonny With a Chance” before exiting the network to seek help for bulimia and cutting in rehab, took to her Twitter account after taking offense to a joke on the show.

“‘I could just eat you up, well if I ate’ — Disney Chanel’s Shake It Up. … What are we promoting here? #notfunnyATALL,” she tweeted.

“I find it really funny how a company can lose one of their actress’ from the pressures of an EATING DISORDER and yet still make [a] joke about that very disease.”

Disney Channel’s PR account quickly attempted to remedy the situation, tweeting that the episode would be pulled as quickly as possible.

Miss Lovato can next be seen co-hosting MTV’s New Year’s Eve special with “Teen Wolf” star Tyler Posey.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports

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