Natalie Zea is to return to The Following after striking a last-minute deal.

The controversial Kevin Bacon-starring horror drama shot two different endings for its first season finale, one in which Zea's character Claire - ex-wife of serial killer Joe Carroll, played by James Purefoy - died and one where she survived.

TV Guide claims that although the actress and series creator Kevin Williamson were in favour of the character being killed-off, Fox TV executives insisted on her survival.

"My concern, and Kevin Williamson's concern, was always, is there more story to tell with Claire? And we both discovered that maybe there wasn't," Zea said.

"I feel like what would need to happen [for Claire to continue] would be a change to her DNA," the former Justified star added. "In other words, she might have to break bad a little bit."

The Following returns to Fox in the US and Sky Atlantic in the UK in 2014.