‘The Walking Dead’ Execs Get Death Threats On Social Media

Some fans of The Walking Dead are so heartbroken and/or upset when a series regular is killed off that they supposedly make death threats against producers of the hit AMC series.

So says Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd. She offered up this revelation this afternoon at the 5th Annual Produced By conference which is sponsored by the Producers Guild of America and is taking place this weekend on the 20th Century Fox lot in Los Angeles.

In case you tuned in late — or not at all — to the most popular cable television show in America, The Walking Dead, based on a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman, follows a small group of survivors who are led by Georgia Sheriff Rick Grimes (British actor Andrew Lincoln) in a quest to try to find a safe haven far away from menacing zombie-cannibal “walkers,” a.k.a. “biters.” Some of the humans that they encounter along the way are also equally dangerous.

According to Hurd, some viewers take the zombie apocalypse show a little too seriously. “That’s one of the dirty little secrets of social media. The fans so identify with the characters that if you kill them off… well, first they’re in denial. It’s really the stages of grief. They say, ‘That gunshot off camera, they aren’t really dead, they’re coming back.’ And then they get angry. They threaten to hunt you down. They don’t understand the difference between reality and fantasy.”

In a world overrun by zombies, the mortality rate can be high, especially for the zombies but sometimes for recurring cast members. The show’s season 3 finale on March 31 featured the death of “Andrea” (Laurie Holden). Earlier in the season, Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies) was killed off. “Dale” and “Shane,” two other principal characters, died in season 2. The finale broke a viewership record for AMC. An all-time high of 12.4 million television viewers watch the season-ending episode, with 8.1 million from the all-important 18-49 demographic.

In a recent interview, Kirkman even admitted that Sheriff Grimes is not “out of the woods” either, literally or figuratively. “We’ve been saying that no one is safe on this show, and I wouldn’t rule out seeing the death of Rick Grimes at almost any point. We really like to keep people guessing, and I could definitely see some interesting stories coming from that.”

Hurd also mentioned at the conference that NBC turned down the show before it was offered to AMC and that AMC has not interfered in the content and has given producers extensive creative freedom in developing The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead under new showrunner Scott Gimple returns to TV for season 4 sometime in October, and filming is already underway in the Atlanta area.

Do you think that some fans get too emotionally involved in The Walking Dead that they forget that it is just make-believe?