I have to laugh at the idea that this show is willing to dispatch "its most beloved characters." I mean, really? If they kill off Beth, Hershel and Judith it'll be Amy Mk.2 (sweet character that was never given the chance to do much, worse in Beth's case), an infant that - while shocking to lose - hasn't had a chance to really become beloved, and Hershel who genuinely fits the bill.
Merle - not beloved
Lori - not beloved
Prison guys - who?
T-Dogg - who?
Shane - HA!
Dale - not beloved (missed potential; became Hershel)
Sophia - sweet, but didn't get to do much
Jacqui - who?
Amy - see above
Rampaging Fuckwad Wifebeater - HA!