5:13pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Walking Dead' Producers Cancel Press Tour Appearance to Attend Stuntman's Funeral
The producers of AMC's The Walking Dead have canceled a planned appearance at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour.
AMC, in a statement Thursday to press, noted that the panel that was scheduled for Saturday afternoon conflicts with the funeral services for John Bernecker, the stuntman who died July 12 after plunging headfirst from a balcony on the show's Georgia set while attempting a seemingly simple 22-foot fall. Production on season eight was briefly shut down, and multiple investigations are underway.
"We wanted to make you aware that, unfortunately, we will no longer be able to present our panel with The Walking Dead executive producers. The panel conflicts with the funeral services for our stuntman John Bernecker, which Scott Gimple and some of the other EPs will be attending," the network announced.
Showrunner Gimple and creator Robert Kirkman, as well as executive producers Gale Anne Hurd, Dave Alpert and Greg Nicotero, were scheduled to discuss the upcoming eighth season and landmark 100th episode of the zombie drama with reporters.
The decision to cancel the TCA appearance comes after The Walking Dead canceled all Comic-Con appearances save for the show's panel and autograph signing last weekend. The panel for The Walking Dead opened with a heartfelt tribute to Bernecker as Gimple revealed that the cast and creators considered skipping Comic-Con completely. (Spinoff Fear the Walking Dead, which paneled before the flagship, also featured a moment of silence for Bernecker.)
Kirkman, meanwhile, will still attend his Saturday panel to support AMC's upcoming docuseries Secret History of Comics.