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‘The Walking Dead’ Producers Softened Gratuitous Violence After Negative Audience Reaction

"We did tone it down," said producer Gale Anne Hurd.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Jeffrey Dean Morgan in “The Walking Dead.”

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead” producers toned down the violence in the smash hit zombie show after resounding backlash from fans to a gruesome scene in the season 7 premiere, Variety reports.

While fans are used to seeing favorite characters perish violently, the killing of two beloved characters with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire struck many as going too far. Producer Gale Anne Hurd admitted the strong response caused producers to alter production for the episodes that were still in production at the time of the October 23 premiere.

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“We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence,” Hurd said during a panel session at the NATPE conference, moderated by IndieWire’s Michael Schneider. “We did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season.”

The Walking Dead season 7

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes.

Gene Page/AMC

In his review of the episode for IndieWire, under the headline “Season 7 Premiere is the Show at its Worst,” Jeff Stone wrote that the scene in question was: “[Y]et another extended beating, featuring Glenn’s eye protruding from his head in one of those moments where ‘The Walking Dead’ seems to be reveling in its violence instead of condemning it.

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Hurd and the production team objected to that characterization, saying: “This is not a show that is torture porn.” AMC Networks president-CEO Josh Sapan added: “When something matters a lot and it has a universality, then you’re bothered by it and you care about it.”

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