Eye on Emmy: How FX's American Horror Story Pushed the Miniseries Envelope to the Max

Though Murphy and Falchuk labored to hold their cards close to the vest throughout Season 1, lest they tip their hand as to who survives the Harmons’ haunting, their one and only plan American Horror Story Emmy Nominations 2012from American Horror Story’s outset was to refresh the cast and reset the setting with every cycle of 13 episodes, thus affording the drama miniseries eligibility.

So whereas in the first go-round, a Los Angeles manse hosted modern-day horror, the second run will be set in the 1960s and at an East Coast asylum for the insane. McDermott, Britton, TV daughter Taissa Farmiga and Conroy are gone, but Lange and other Season 1 costars such as Zachary Quinto, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe will be back — though as different characters. New arrivals Chloe Sevigny (Big Love), James Cromwell (Babe) and singer Adam Levine will round out the revamped ensemble.

“Because we are a miniseries, every season we can tell a containable story, which I think is a really cool idea,” Murphy enthuses. “I’m having a lot of fun with that.”

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“It’s exciting,” McDermott says of the seasonal restart, a luxury afforded in large part by Horror Story’s home on FX. “For network television in general, the numbers are dwindling, and it’s time for a new model — and that’s why cable is thriving. People want to have something new, something fresh — and this approach is definitely that.”

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