'The Walking Dead': Signing Season 4 now is dangerous for show, AMC

Yahoo Contributor Network

Word came out in late September about AMC possibly acknowledging a fourth season of "The Walking Dead" through a contest the network was sponsoring that would send winners to the set during the shooting of Season 4. AMC released a statement in which it explained that contests that include information about prospective future seasons are commonplace. The network would not want fans beginning to watch Season 3 and already counting on Season 4.

Importance of fans

The overconfidence of already signing a fourth season does not show appreciation for the fans and would appear the network was taking the fans for granted and assuming the new season was going to be as big of a hit as the previous seasons. Also, if fans remember the future of a show is dependent on current viewership, they will be more likely to try to revolve their schedules around viewing. Articles and blogs by fans will continue to try to draw in more fans to ensure the story of Rick Grimes and the other survivors is told until completion.

Leak lessons from the past

Everyone connected to "The Walking Dead" learned an important lesson about keeping particular information close to the chest. With a handful of episodes left in the second season, word leaked about how Jon Bernthal, who played Shane, was pursuing a lead role in another show. Fans knew before the last few episodes that the hated character was going to die and there was less shock when it happened. The leak reduced the "Wow!" factor of the character's death.

Hypothetical Season 4 leaks

AMC would be worried about future season contract negotiations leaking online. If AMC had already finalized a Season 4 for "The Walking Dead," stars would work to sign new contracts including appearances in the future season. Let's say that after a few episodes into Season 3, word leaked online about Laurie Holden getting a contract extension to Season 4. Fans would know there would not be a chance of Andrea being killed off anytime soon. Any tense situation she was in would be discounted due to knowing the character was going to last until the next season.

Why secrets matter

One of the most interesting aspects of the comic book version and the TV version of "The Walking Dead," is how anyone can die at any time. Outside of Rick and Carl, fans have learned how every other character is as expendable as any other. Leaks about how long a character might be around negate part of the magic of the show. The less the creators and AMC do to reduce the magic of the show, the stronger the show becomes.

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