Do you know how hard it is to keep secrets in Hollywood, with the demand for spoilers at a fever-pitch and the attention via social media at an all-time high? So imagine Shonda Rhimes' and the Grey's Anatomy team's horror when, on the day their biggest shocker in years is about to air, the death of their leading man is spoiled. How? (Spoiler Warning!)
Some subscribers received their issue of Entertainment Weekly early this week, and it just so happened to include an exit interview with Patrick Dempsey, whose character Derek Shepherd died in an awful car crash in the April 23 episode. Enraged tweets were tweeted. Apologies were issued. Damage was done.
Unfortunately, Grey's Anatomy isn't alone, as a few other major TV deaths have been spoiled before they air, whether accidentally or on purpose. Warning: spoilers (some years-old) ahead!
Marissa Cooper on The O.C.
Just hours before SoCal's favorite poor little rich girl met her demise in a car crash in the season three finale, star Mischa Barton spoiled the death in a TV interview. Classic Marissa Cooper move! "My character has been through so, so much and there's really nothing more left for her to do," she said. You know, not much except spoil one of the biggest TV events of the year.
Shane on The Walking Dead
Talk about a advertising faux pas! AMC spoiled one of the zombie's hits biggest deaths ever...with a freakin' ad for the DVD box-set. Before the season has even finished, an ad revealed bonus features, including, "the making of the barn, an extended zombie gut scene, Shane's last episode…" Oops!
Beth, The Walking Dead
While not as egregious as Shane-gate, AMC found themselves in hot water with fans again when they spoiled another major death on their Facebook page, revealing Beth (Emily Kinney) had died in the midseason finale via a new promotional poster. The problem? They put it up immediately following the East Coast airing, pissing off every other time-zone-dweller.
Jax, Sons of Anarchy
Right before the series finale, creator Kurt Sutter was issuing an NSFW apology to fans. Why? Because they accidentally spoiled that the show's leading man, Jax (Charlie Hunnam), would be dying in the series finale. How?! Some copies of the SOA Collector's Edition Book were sent out a week early, which listed all of the series' major deaths, including the biggest one that had yet to happen.
"This, my friends is a storyteller's worst nightmare," Sutter said in his apology. "I f--ked up. It was my idea for the book, so ultimately, I am to blame. So if you received a book, I apologize...there is no excuse for utter ineptitude. It pains me that this will be the parting memory of some fans."
OK, so this death was also spoiled by executive producers...but on purpose. After star Columbus Short's legal issues, it was announced that he would not be returning to the show in season four. And boss Shonda Rhimes revealed Harrison's fate in an interview with TVGuide.com.
"I think the key with every character's exit on all of our shows is the writers try to find the most appropriate and interesting and phenomenal way of exiting the character," Betsy Beers later told us. "I think, as a fan, they found an amazing explosive and dramatic way for him to exit."
Xena, Xena: Warrior Princess
Death was nothing new for Xena (Lucy Lawless) and Gabrielle (Renee O'Connor), but when there's death involved in a series finale, well, that was another story. Somebody with the Xena: Warrior Princess series finale script offered it for sale in 2001, months before the finale aired, and news of Xena's demise made headlines, even one inside the official Xena magazine, spoiling fans worldwide. The final promo for the show even mentioned it and said, "Forget what you heard about the ending, see the truth for yourself."
What major TV deaths were spoiled for you before it aired? Commiserate in the comments below!