'American Horror Story' at PaleyFest: Season 3 Title Revealed

UPDATED: Surprise guest Kathy Bates joins the panel, which reveals the third season of the FX anthology will be about witches.
Kathy Bates, left, and Jessica Lange

The cast and creators of American Horror Story revisited Asylum on Friday night, closing out the 30th annual PaleyFest with a special announcement about the mysterious third season of the FX anthology: its subtitle.

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Following a second season subtitled Asylum, co-creator Ryan Murphy revealed that next year will carry the subtitle Coven. "It's a really cool story that we've been talking for a couple years, and this seemed to be the year to do it," he said, noting the series will shoot in multiple locations, one of which is New Orleans -- the first time the series has exited its soundstage filming location. 

During the lively panel, Murphy also revealed that he's been talking with FX president John Landgraf about potentially doing a companion piece to AHS, noting that he had a couple of different ideas .While he declined to discuss it further, given Murphy's fascination with The Walking Dead -- which he noted helped inspire him to create AHS -- it's unclear if it would be scripted or a talk show similar to AMC's post-show The Talking Dead. Representatives for FX and 20th Television, which produces AHS and where Murphy's production company is housed -- had no additional information.

While little is known about season three, producers noted that the series would again search for haunted places in America. Murphy previously told The Hollywood Reporter that next year would feature three characters playing real people, including previously announced cast member Kathy Bates.

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Bates, who recently revealed her double mastectomy as she battled cancer, was the surprise guest of the evening and received a standing ovation, like friend and co-star Jessica Lange did upon her introduction to start the panel.

"I've loved it from the very beginning," Bates said of AHS. "I called up Jessica and told her to talk to Ryan and tell him I'd do anything on the show." She, too, refrained from spilling details about her character.

For his part, Murphy said the series will deliver on one thing he really wanted to see when working on a show with Lange and Bates. "I wanted to see a lot of scenes with Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates going at it, and that's what you're going to see," he said to wild enthusiasm from the sold-out crowd at the Saban Theatre.  

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Bates, whose casting leaked in February, will play Lange's former best friend turned enemy as the series continues to reboot every season. In addition to Lange, AHS cast members set to return for season three include Evan Peters, Sarah PaulsonTaissa Farmiga, Frances Conroy and Lily Rabe. (Farmiga, for her part, sat out the recently concluded second season.)

Murphy previously told reporters that the third season will be more upbeat than Asylum. "What season three is about is more historical in nature," he told reporters during a January screening of the Asylum finale.

"I'm also interested in getting into a horror romance," he said. "That's certainly something that's going to be in the water for season three. You're going to see a very different tone in season three, but that's the joy of the show. I think as a person right now, I do feel lighter and wanting to embrace something a little bit more fun."

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit