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Sometimes, a show can make a decision that audiences love. Other times, shows can misstep and try to self-correct. According to Variety, The Walking Dead is trying out the latter strategy.
Season seven’s premiere of The Walking Dead was a huge ratings success. Millions tuned in to find out which of their favorite characters were going to be Negan’s victims. The particularly violent deaths (which involved bludgeoning fan favorite Glenn and Abraham with a barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat) spurred some outrage from audiences. Variety points out that critics themselves had problems with the exact extent of the violence, from the visuals and audio elements of the scene.
The first half of the seventh season continued in a similar violent fashion, but executive producer Gale Anne Hurd said that the backlash they received because of that decision influenced the amount of violence in the latter half of the season.
“We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence. We did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season,” she noted.
AMC Networks president-CEO Josh Sapan was also on the same panel with Hurd during the discussion on violence. He too acknowledged the public’s attitude, saying, “When something matters a lot and it has a universality, then you’re bothered by it and you care about it.”