September 25, 2012 4:46pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
AMC Promises Season 4 of 'Walking Dead'
Season three of AMC's The Walking Dead has yet to premiere but the cable network is already promising a fourth season.
The network this week launched a blood drive on its website offering lucky donors a "chance to win a trip to The Walking Dead Season 4 set" -- only there's one problem: the Andrew Lincoln starrer has yet to be renewed beyond season three.
While an AMC representative tells The Hollywood Reporter that the fourth season has not yet officially been ordered, the renewal is more a question of when rather than if, as the drama based on the comics by Robert Kirkman ranks as cable's No. 1 scripted drama in several key demographics.
"The Walking Dead has not been renewed for a fourth season. There was no inadvertent pickup of the series. Season three premieres October 14th. Promotional sweepstakes give-aways, which involve prospective future season visits or opportunities are common practice in television. The sweepstakes rules clearly state AMC may award a substitute prize if the future season opportunity is not available," the network said in a statement.
Last year, AMC picked up the series for a third season after two episodes in its second run. (The season two premiere shattered basic-cable ratings in adults 18-49 and 25-54, with the season finale breaking that record.)
This isn't the first time that an AMC advertisement for the show has spoiled the series. In March, an ad for the second season DVD collection revealed bonus features that included "Shane's last episode." The character, played by Jon Bernthal, went on to be killed off weeks later in the penultimate episode of the season.
The Walking Dead's third season returns Sunday, Oct. 14 at 9 p.m.