Homeland's executive producer Alex Gansa has said that he was "hurt" by criticism of the hit TV show. Warning: Spoiler Alert!

Speaking ahead of the fourth season premiere, Gansa said: "We love our show and we bleed for our show. 

"So when there's any criticism that comes back our way, we take it seriously, and we take it personally."

He added: "I can only say I don't know how you can look at the last six or seven episodes that we did last season and not say that Homeland is one of the best shows on television. I am so proud of those episodes. 

"And in my view, especially the last two were among the best episodes we've ever done. Of course, I'm biased. I can't say any more. The criticism hurt. 

"The lack of an Emmy nomination hurt. But we're going to come back strong and try to get to the mountaintop again."

Homeland returns with its new season tonight, Sunday October 5 at 9pm on Showtime in the US.

Gansa also said that following the death of Brody (Damian Lewis) last season, the show's viewership might change.

He explained: "There is definitely an opportunity to lose some viewers who were invested in Brody completely and an opportunity to gain a whole new set by virtue of the fact that a very compelling character is in a very compelling part of the world". 

"I think we have a great advantage. A lot of people are first turned off by stories that are set in foreign countries, but here we have a group of characters who we've come to love, hopefully."